This article explores pathways into homelessness by older Australians, with a particular focus on first-time homelessness. Drawing on a multi-method study including data mining of 561 client records and 20 interviews with service providers, the distinctive nature of older people's homelessness is demonstrated. Three pathways to homelessness in later life are identified. With close to 70 per cent of the participants having had a conventional housing history, the article reveals in rich detail the circumstances surrounding critical housing incidents for older Australians. It shows that older people are at risk when they are evicted, are unable to continue to living with family, face unaffordable rent in the private rental market, cannot continue living in inaccessible rental housing, as well as experience a breakdown in an important relationship. The results provide key material to inform the design of services and policy initiatives to prevent and address homelessness for older Australians.