Homelessness among elderly people indicates that our safety nets are failing some of our most vulnerable citizens
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) April 1, 2010
In a report examining homelessness among elderly people released on April 1, 2010, the National Alliance to End Homelessness projects an increase in the number of elderly people experiencing homelessness in the decades to come. The Alliance predicts that the elderly homelessness population will increase by 33 percent by 2020 and more than double by 2050.
These predictions, as the report explains, are based on the existing data on homelessness among the elderly population, as well as data on the rate of poverty and deep poverty among elderly people, the current rate of homelessness among older adults, and the anticipated increase in the size of the elderly population. Also considered was the incidence of severe housing cost burden among the elderly population, the reliance of many elderly people on federal affordable housing programs, and the causes of homelessness among the elderly.
The report also provides a review of the research about homelessness among the elderly, as well as current federal housing and service programs targeted at the older homeless population. Findings suggest that, as the “baby boomer” generation becomes senior citizens, existing federal services – including Social Security, Medicare, and housing assistance programs for the elderly – will be critical for meeting the challenge of an increased elderly homeless population.
Policy recommendations include:
- Increase the supply of subsidized affordable housing for economically vulnerable elderly persons
- Create sufficient permanent supportive housing units to end chronic homelessness
- Advance research to better understand the needs of the elderly homeless population
“Homelessness among elderly people indicates that our safety nets are failing some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Nan Roman, president of the Alliance. “As our country forges ahead to improve the world for those who will come after us, let us not neglect those who have come before us. Let us honor their progress and perseverance by allowing them to age with dignity.”
The full report and corresponding information can be found on the National Alliance to End Homelessness website (http://www.endhomelessness.org).
Contact: Catherine An