Homeless Aging Population Increases Urgency

Recently, I met a 54-year-old college graduate who once held managerial positions. He said he suddenly became disabled from an old football injury that contributed to his job loss, eventually leading to his homelessness six months ago.

He lives in his car.

This gentleman is among those 50 and older who are becoming homeless for the first time.

Homelessness is reaching crisis proportions,

and the aging population increases its urgency.

A University of San Francisco report from 2017 looked at the risk of homelessness at various life stages in an effort to develop proactive solutions. Findings indicated that, when it comes to individuals 50 and older, homelessness is most often the result of:

  1. low earnings throughout their working years,

  2. crisis situations, such as job loss and divorce, death of a spouse or partner,

  3. major illness, and

  4. low social support.

For people 50-plus, if they don’t get off the streets, they will become homeless seniors with significant health issues, and they won’t be able to fight the streets without major difficulties.

Solutions offered in the report included determining the role of the health care system, enacting rent-controlled housing, eliminate unjust evictions, rehouse immediately, and provide rental subsidies and family assistance.

We must adapt to the needs of older adults by identifying appropriate services and interventions that would focus on preventing housing loss during their golden years. As well as tailor services to this population’s diverse life experiences and needs of the older homeless population.

Homelessness is reaching crisis proportions, and the aging population increases its urgency, the report concluded.

Adapted from The Reporter's 'Homeless Aging Population Increases Urgency' by Danette Mitchell, author and social advocate.

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