Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Eleven Percent of the Homeless Population Was Over 50 years Old in 1990; Today 50% of the Homeless Population is 50 and Older, says AMAC

homeless senior elder abuse homelessness CaliforniaWASHINGTON, DC – It’s August, a time when it can be pleasant to spend time out of doors. But, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], “it won’t be long before temperatures start to fall and, while most of us have homes for shelter from the elements, tens of thousands Americans live without a roof over their heads. They are the homeless.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 12.3% or more of the U.S. population — nearly 40 million men, women and children — live in poverty.  “Too many of them do not have the means to find shelter and, therefore, are forced to live hand-to-mouth and find themselves homeless, which is bad enough for the younger members of that population.  But, consider how hard it is for the elderly and how grim it is for seniors dealing with health issues.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says that 553,000 Americans were homeless last year, says Weber.  He adds that “half of them were over 50 years of age and studies show that the 50-plus segment of the homeless population is likely to triple over the next ten years.  In 1990, only 11% of the homeless population was 50 or older.”

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, “Increased homelessness among elderly persons is largely the result of poverty and the declining availability of affordable housing among certain segments of the aging.”

Former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez says that providing affordable housing is key to the task of stemming the tide of homelessness among the elderly.

Margot Kushel, MD, professor of medicine at UC-San Francisco, is an expert on the elderly who become homeless and she agrees with Martinez.  According to Kushel, “A lot of these people have been healthy their whole lives.  But it doesn’t take long for their health to plummet once they’re homeless.  Once someone is housed, depression often lifts, stress fades away, infections heal.  It’s instant.”

Dr. Kushel heads up the University’s Center for Vulnerable Populations and was recently tapped to direct a new initiative funded by a $30 million gift from philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff.  The new Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative is devoted to the task of finding practical, “real world” solutions aimed at ending homelessness, particularly homelessness among older victims.

Says Weber, “everyone has his own set of priorities, but one thing we all have in common is that we are all growing older.  It’s one of the hardest things we will all do in this life and so we should have compassion for those who need our help.”

If you are able, there are things you can do as individuals to help alleviate the problem, even if it’s only donating unused clothing to a local homeless shelter, he adds.  Meanwhile, do some research and find out just how dire is the fate of the homeless.

“You’ll be surprised the impact you can have by becoming a part of the solution and how good you’ll feel.”


The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 1.9 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Gerry Santomassimo
1 year ago

These are the folks (plus our Veterans) we need to help instead of wasting funds on illegals.

1 year ago

People, I live in sunny, over-exspensive California. I can believe these numbers. A homeless senior friend I know, lives in his car. He worked 43 years for a number of small companies as a print advertising salesman. He was hired as a “independent contractor” on straight Commission because these companies were too small to afford to pay health insurance nor did they offer pension plans. Now he lives on less than $1000 per month of fixed SSI. He was forced to take his SSI at age 62 because of health issues at the time. Social Security will not increase his… Read more »

1 year ago

what is the DEFINITION of POVERTY as used in this article? I think this is a term that ALWAYS needs to be CLARIFIED whenever it is used. Too many people have too many “opinions” about what constitutes “poverty” . if i own my own house and car and have my own transportation and a FAMILY that makes sure i have enough food , I am NOT “living in poverty ” just because i have only x number of dollars of income.

1 year ago

But we can furnish the new Muslim immigrants housing and about $3700 a month or more….we can give the illegals free medical care, educate their kids, furnish them housing, and food stamps…..but we can’t take care of our poor elderly and families and veterans forced to live on the streets. We don’t need to drain the swamp, we need to completely change out Washington from top to bottom, including activists judges, Congress, Senate….everyone but our President….give him the people to stop obstructing and we might just get our poor taken care of and the illegals deported.

1 year ago

California has half the homeless population in the country. They are given everything they need while on the streets; food, tents, money, which they spend to further their destructive habits, phones, etc. In the words of one homeless woman in Seattle, “I have everything I need; why should I get a job?” Laws against defecating or urinating in public, doing drugs, etc., are not enforced. In the forests, we are admonished not to feed the wildlife as they become dependent on humans; the same can be said for the homeless, or the poor for that matter. Give them a helping… Read more »

Klaus Koenig
1 year ago

Public Housing… If we built small units that are resistant to damage from tenants there would be those who say they resemble prison cells. The other problem with public housing is that (out of necessity) we exclude those with behavioral or substance abuse problems, entire families are removed from Section 8 housing for the misdeeds of one family member. It’s a complex problem that has a has very visible results that many think has a simple solution. I don’t want to generalize, but, I wouldn’t want to expose my wife to sharing our house with a homeless man without some… Read more »

The Freezing Senior
1 year ago

Picture looks like comrade Bernie is catching a quick nap in between campaign stops.
Sweet dreams you old Commie but you’ll NEVER be POTUS, thank God.

GBA/MAGA/KAG TRUMP2020 Deus Vult !

Mickie Enders
1 year ago

Why is it the Democrats step over our own homeless and needy to shower ILLEGALS with free benefits?

Pat Dilling
1 year ago

I work at our local Food Bank and with the Salvation Army helping people in need. I agree with the assessment that a significant number of homeless and poor are 50+. I see them every week. There are many people living on the edge, limited savings, working low skilled jobs and yes sometimes impacted by addiction. Many are in their situation because of their own bad judgement and failure to plan. Many have been displaced from their jobs by advances in technology. Sometimes they worked in physically demanding labor trades and are no longer able to keep up. Their bodies… Read more »

1 year ago

Some of those homeless people are that way because they want to be. They don’t want anyone telling them what they can and can’t do. They don’t mind being out in the elements(most are former military, I’ve met a few in my city and that is what they tell me). I’m wouldn’t want to see women children living like that though!

1 year ago

The top-ten American cities for homelessness are sanctuary cities,Hum ?

Peter K
1 year ago

$30,000,000 to STUDY the problem? Why don’t they use the money to build a shelter for these people? Ah, it’s because liberals love to feel good and milk every financial windfall of grants and donations but do little to solve the problem. Few of us need to be reminded of people living under overpasses and bridges so I say, “if you’re serious, simply put the donations to work”, not in your pocket while you only want to lecture us on the problem. That includes conservatives as well. How much does any person or family need? Billionaire should be generous, however,… Read more »

Shirley V Allen
1 year ago

Build lots of small houses and make a small neighborhood since they know each other from the street

1 year ago

are your numbers wrongly stated or are we really talking about 2 – per 10000 people. . if this is true, every one thousand people in America could just take care of one or two people and this would be solved. In a compassionate divine way. Maybe if GOVERNMENT stopped making charity a dirty word. PEOPLE could and would start fulfilling their divine and human nature and duty.

1 year ago

Is it true, (let’s talk about the elephant in the room) allowing illegal aliens, refugees from countries the US has invaded or Civil Wars the US has gotten involved with to nation build countries to become democratic, capitalistic & Christian, H1 Visa people (The usual suspects Teacher Unions indoctrinating students to take STEM classes going into debt from over priced Indoctrination Centers only to graduate and find the jobs have been given to VISA holders or convicts in prison. How stupid is that?), outsourcing of jobs (Where were the unions & Democrats?), NAFTA (Another Bill like Obamacare that the politicians… Read more »

Jack Thomas
1 year ago

Homelessness in the United States of America. It’s a national disgrace! This should not be happening in the wealthiest nation on earth. I remember answering my front door one day many years ago, in the 1980s. A school kid was going around the neighborhood soliciting for his school’s fund-raiser to help the local homeless. He was maybe 12 or 13 years old, a nice kid. I remember that he was almost apologetic when he told me: “My mother said if there are homeless people it’s their own fault.” My immediate thought was how callous of his mother to take that… Read more »

Wallace Mayo
1 year ago

If you read the headline straight, it almost could be implied that (if we have the same number of homeless), then we have had a huge drop off (rescuing/prevention) of younger aged homeless (since older is higher percentage NOW). I’m sure that is not what the article is saying. Giving 12.3 % current homeless does not tell how that figure was in the past.
Good emphasis and concern in the article. Something we should all work on.

1 year ago

My wife and I care for disabled adults and one thing we have learned is that many of the people in care facilities were homeless after developing schizophrenia. Most had previous drug addictions prior to developing the disease and becoming homeless. Some of these people are not capable of living on their own because they quickly revert back to their illicit drugs and alcohol, stop taking the medications that kept them calm and subdued their hallucinations, and would soon become homeless again. They need constant supervision, assistance with their meds, someone to take them to appointments, make them meals, clean… Read more »

James Bair
1 year ago

Is there any data that would correlate social or political events or trends to this change? Such as drugs, destruction of family life, promotion of socialism, lack of education etc.

Chuck Chadwick
1 year ago

Is it a lack of appropriate planning or a lack of opportunities?

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