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Homeless Americans are Growing, with Population and Age

Homelessness is rapidly changing- into a group rather heartbreaking. The elderly has to deal with day-to-day struggles like dementia, immobility, and overall health and strength. Try dealing with these challenges with no home to come back to. No expert at your feet with at home support. No family to continually make sure you are okay.

The homeless in America are growing. Not only with population, but with age.

In 2014, over 306,000 people were living on the streets. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 31 percent of the homeless are elderly. How have these rates skyrocketed? The causes of homelessness among elderly resulted from declining of housing that is affordable for specific segments that are of aging. Across the nation, there are from 7-9 seniors eager to be housed in an affordable unit. Most are turned down, creating the issues at hand.

Facing more significant challenges that come with age, seniors face much higher rates of mortality. With the repercussions of being deadly, seniors on the streets struggle. Post being denied a place to live, the elderly must find a place to provide shelter. A challenge in itself for the typical homeless person, yet harder for the aging. Elderly homeless persons often have low mobility and cannot get around to look for a place to stay. With shelters typically being located above floors, it becomes inaccessible to those who aren’t mobile enough to walk up. In addition to this, long lines are found with homeless people trying to get a bed, with seniors not being able to sustain this position.

With mortality rates being four times higher among elderly homeless, it has been shown that their lives have been proving wasteful, with not nearly enough shelters and programs for them.

However, efforts have been made to fix this situation, with the elderly still having rights.

Safety net programs including Social Security have made a dedication to improving repercussions from the rise in the cost of living. Increased funding towards homeless prevention has also been in place. For elderly in areas of high-risk homelessness, departments have made it their duty to prevent seniors from falling into poverty, giving easy access to safety net programs.

Elderly homeless persons are entitled to benefits provided by Social Security. These benefits do not cover nearly enough. Homeless senior receiving benefits like Supplemental Security Income, also referred to as the SSI, still cannot afford housing with the Free Market Rate (FMR), almost anywhere in the nation.

How can we as a society put an end to these horrendous difficulties that homeless seniors are faced with on a day-to-day basis? It is necessary to provide low-income housing, support with income, and most importantly, healthcare.

Medicaid and Medicare, popular health care programs, include geriatric support systems that are supposed to be made available among elderly. Funding has been improved for health care providers that support the homeless, especially programs that are made available to the elderly.

Homeless among elderly is skyrocketing, along with their mortality rates. According to National Health Care for the Homeless, it is predicted that by the year 2050, expected 95,000 elders living without a stable housing situation. We must put an end to it and stop the rapid growth of the elderly becoming homeless.

“SeniorNavigator.” Meeting Residents' Needs: How Nursing Home Care Plans Are Developed | SeniorNavigator, 23 June 2018"

Nagourney, Adam. “Old and on the Street: The Graying of America's Homeless.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 May 2016

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