• I am over 50
  • I am struggling to make ends meet
  • I want a quality affordable home
  • I want help when I need it
  • I Want A Good Life

International Men's Day 2021

by Wintringham Communications

Every year on 19 November, International Men’s Day is a chance for individuals, communities and organisations to get together to not only celebrate the positive male role models in their lives and the contributions they make to their communities, but also to recognise the problems many men face today.

One of the biggest challenges older men face is homelessness. According to the 2016 Australian Census, older people aged 55 and above made up 16% (18,625) of the total homeless population across Australia. Of those, men were the majority of the older homeless population at 63%, which represented a 26% increase from 2011. In Victoria, a total of 3,315 males were homeless, and 286 in Tasmania.

Wintringham began in 1989 when Bryan Lipmann AM, CEO and Founder realised there were systematic and structural issues in society that caused some people to lose out while others gained.

“I have throughout my life had a strong sense of fairness,” says Bryan. “The absence of social justice was not an accident but was a planned and expected outcome of how our society operates. This understanding of how social justice is seen by our community, not only heavily influenced my own politics, but eventually led me to try do something about it, no matter how minor. And that led to the idea of Wintringham.”

Wintringham have been advocates for ending homelessness for both men and women aged 50 and above since its inception, lobbying governments to enable organisations like ours to provide more affordable social housing and services.

“With housing costs, rent and daily expenses rising, many elderly people are not able to afford a basic lifestyle, so they fall victim to homelessness,” says Bryan. “The key to solving homelessness is the supply of affordable housing, and appropriate support structures in place to ensure they succeed.”

In 2020/2021 there were more than double the number of men compared to women living in Wintringham’s Residential Aged Care homes, and there were more men than women living in Wintringham social housing.

Here, we share two stories of older men who experienced homelessness, both have gone on to live their best lives with Wintringham.

Rudi from Delahey

“When I was living in Sydney I engaged in heavy drug use which ultimately led to me becoming homeless. I then ended up falling into the criminal crowd doing things I wouldn’t normally do, which, when you’re homeless, you’ll do strange things to get by,” says Rudi (pictured in photo with his dog Lucky).

“I knew I needed to change my lifestyle. I couldn’t continue down this path, so I packed up and left for Melbourne to escape my problems and get clean. At the time I was feeling really depressed and was worried how I was going to re-establish my life somewhere. I ended up living at the St Vincent de Paul’s Men’s Shelter, and the support I received from them was truly fantastic.

“I began selling The Big Issue which made me feel like things were finally starting to look up for me. Then further good news came as my case worker through St Vincent de Paul helped me find stable housing and took me for a tour of Wintringham Delahey and supported me with calls and visits until I was settled, where I have now been living for ten years. I feel so happy and settled now, and having my rescue dog Lucky has made a big difference as he goes everywhere with me.”

Recreation Coordinator Nicole says, “Rudi is one of our Home Care Package clients that we’ve assisted in providing furniture, bedding, kitchenware and more to get him started and settled in to his new home and new life. We also support him in caring for his dog by giving him access to free pet treatment with Pet’s in the Park through a referral program.”

“The pandemic has been tough for our residents as they’ve been unable to see their family and friends, so Rudi loves to use the computers in our community room to stay connected to his loved ones and also play the games he enjoys most. Rudi started at Wintringham quite reserved, but now he’s a happy active member at Delahey.”

Shane from Williamstown

“I was experiencing homelessness after I had been fired from my job. Of course, with no stable income it was very difficult to afford a new place and basic needs, and so I ended up having to move in with my brother for a short while before then moving into my sister’s place. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best relationship with my sister which made living with her a challenge, so I ended up moving out and living on the streets in Werribee where I met some people at the station and Kelly Park where I stayed,” says Shane.

“I was on the pension at the time but it still wasn’t enough to survive. I was hating life, hating my family, and just feeling angry overall. But then I got in touch with cohealth in Hoppers Crossing where the staff were so kind to care for me and help me get back on my feet. They told me all about Wintringham and how they could help, so they did a referral. Fast-forward and I have been at Wintringham Williamstown Hostel now for two years. When I first arrived I didn’t like it and kept going back to Kelly Park, but over time I felt comfortable and supported here, and now I feel so much happier and safer. Thank you, Wintringham.”

Acting Care Manager at Wintringham Williamstown Joanne says, “We’ve provided Shane a safe place that he can now call home. We support him to live the life he wants by finding recreational activities that he loves and wants to engage in. He likes being able to socialise with the other residents who share similar interests as him.”

Rudi and Shane’s stories are also a testament to the wonderful men and women of Wintringham who, over the course of their careers, have helped shaped the lives of elderly men living in disadvantage.

Jane Barnes, Wintringham Chief of Staff, has spent much of her career working with homeless men. Once responsible for The Salvation Army’s Gill Memorial Night Shelter, a men’s-only dormitory style accommodation service that was outdated and unsafe particularly for the older the men it housed, Jane replaced the building with a range of suitable accommodation and support options that provided men with real pathways to end their homelessness.

Scott O'Hara, Senior Recreation Coordinator supports clients to either find or continue engaging in personal pursuits which bring meaning to their lives. Scott has seen and helped many elderly men who were once too timid or mistrusting of others, take tiny steps toward engaging with him or his team, which has eventually led to active participation in daily life activities. Scott describes assisting in this transition as extremely motivating for him personally..

Some men experiencing challenges often don’t receive the support and understanding they need from others, and have no idea who or where they can turn to for help. Thankfully, for older men who are experiencing or are vulnerable to homelessness, Wintringham have an incredible team who can support them.

How Can We Help You?
If you are over 50, struggling to make ends meet, want a quality affordable home and help when you need it. If you want a good life then contact us on 03 9034 4824.
Who We Are

Wintringham is a not-for-profit welfare organisation created to address the scourge of elderly homelessness. Wintringham Housing is registered in the state of Victoria as a Housing Association.

How Can You Help Us?
Wintringham values the critical roles of staff and volunteers. We also welcome donations and the generosity of philanthropic partners.
Back To Top