Politics / Press Releases

Growing Old On the Streets is Not Easy, says AMAC

homeless streets helpThere is a pressing need for solutions to homelessness among the elderly

WASHINGTON, DC – According to a U.S. government study 1.5 million Americans are considered to be homeless.  And, while efforts are underway, and in some cases making progress toward reducing the ravages of homelessness, more needs to be done, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

And, he says, there needs to be a special focus on the population of elderly men and women with no permanent access to shelter.  It’s hard enough growing old in the comfort of your own home, but imagine how much more difficult and dangerous it is to age on the streets.

“Bear in mind that the homeless are included in the 10,000 Americans who turn 65 years of age each day.  So, there is a pressing need for specific solutions to homelessness among the elderly and the need grows more dire with each and every passing day.  The issue is particularly poignant for AMAC since reportedly more than 50% of those living on the streets are elderly.  The burden of living hand-to-mouth on the streets is particularly difficult for them since they are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses as they age.  Efforts to deal with the problem are valiant but thus far have not been able to cope as is evidenced by the growing waiting lists at shelters,” says Weber.

Sara Bloomberg, a freelance journalist in San Francisco, recently reported that in 2014 wait times for access to temporary shelter for the homeless in that city averaged 26 days and that currently the wait time has more than doubled.  Bloomberg noted that among those recently seeking shelter was a 97-year-old individual and three who are in their 80s.

Sam Dodge, deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Homelessness, told her in an interview that “we do have some carve-outs within our shelter system for elderly and veterans.”

But, says Weber, a study conducted by the University of California found that in 27 years ago only 11 percent of the homeless population were older Americans, but that now more than half are age 50 or older so carve-outs are not the answer.

He praised the efforts of officials in municipalities across the country to deal with the needs of those who have no choice but to live on the streets.

“But, as any of us with aging parents or grandparents know, the older you are, the more help you need.  One study of homeless individuals whose average age was 58 showed they have more trouble with such simple tasks as getting dressed, keeping themselves clean and eating properly than 80 year olds living in a proper home environment.  Bear in mind that as we age we can become more forgetful.  We don’t see as well as we used to.  We can become depressed more easily and we can forget to take medications.  And, we become more susceptible to physical injuries,” Weber points out.

While temporary shelters fill an important immediate need, there is widespread agreement that we need to design solutions that provide for permanent solutions for those who otherwise have no choice but to live on the streets.

Says Weber, “we need facilities that offer not only a roof over their heads but supportive services, as well.  Shelters are a partial solution at best.  They provide bunk beds and shared toilet facilities.  That’s good as far as it goes, but there is overwhelming evidence that such environments can actually increase the risk of injury and ill-health.  Furthermore, many shelters require that residents must vacate those shelters during the day.  And, that can lead to further dangers as they have no choice but to wander alone on the streets.”

Weber cites the work of the Hearth program in Boston.  Hearth was established to find ways of preventing and ending elder homelessness.  Its focus is on identifying older individuals who are currently homeless or are at serious risk of becoming homeless.  It seeks to provide “permanent and affordable supportive” housing.

The AMAC chief called on city officials across the country to seek solutions that offer security, permanence and hope for seniors who can’t fend for themselves.  “Hearth and programs like it should be the models for municipalities – particularly bigger cities where aging homeless populations are growing at too rapid a pace.  What use is it to provide so-called temporary, not so safe havens that exacerbate the distress, depression and physical harm suffered by elderly American men and women, many of whom served valiantly in the armed services?”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] 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 http://amac.us/join-amac.

 


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margery ripley
5 years ago

ffamilies aare the best support system- unless we have all learned how to NOT be a familuy

margery ripley
5 years ago

100 million households. just 1.5 million or one and a half percent or about 1 in 85000 families need to take in ONE homeless person and care for them. Are there not three families in Maine who could take in one more person? what about YOUR state?

Lee McQuillen
5 years ago

We have foster homes for children. Why not have foster grandparents homes as well?

Gary
5 years ago

If the government continues to steal money from OUR Social Security and Medicare, and allow fraud to continue, and give it away to lazy people who never paid into the systems, I too might be added to the 1.5 million homeless. But, according to government sources, we are only statistics. We’re not real people, just numbers. We used to be real people who went to work every day and earned real paychecks, because money was taken out of our pay (in addition to a number of taxes) for these two programs that we were told would help us when we get older. They were SPECIAL taxes for SPECIAL purposes because they were taken out separately and then we paid taxes paid on that money. We were all lied to by our own government, and now they expect us to believe that building more homeless shelters is the solution?

andnowyoudont
5 years ago

Open the FEMA “camps” and do something useful for the elderly homeless or indigent veterans- NOT the able-bodied or “refugees”.with the camps. STOP allowing ANYMORE so-called “refugees” in. Period. Build that WALL!!! Find and DEPORT ALL ILLEGALS. Stop supporting death-row criminals for twenty years- or even half that. One appeal, only. Harvest all useable parts from executed felons. Drain the DC swamp and reduce the bureaucracy by half, and no more lifetime perks for them, either. All of these and many more are easy to think up but nobody will ever get accomplished. It’s like the weather.

Theresa Rodriguez
5 years ago

Notice that all the links I’ve provided are to solutions for homelessness thought up by private American Citizens who want to help.

They may have appealed to local government for help and many are outright fighting government to keep it from destroying what they’ve started.

This is a grass roots effort to fix what the Left (I refuse to call them progressive as they are NOT) Socialists have caused thru their Government Interference.

People it CAN be done… and WE can do it.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-homes-give-homeless-people-a-place-to-live-2016-1/#in-total-the-property-will-cover-27-acres-with-all-of-the-funding-for-development-coming-from-private-donors-10

Theresa Rodriguez
5 years ago
Dorothy Ayer
5 years ago

Interesting conversation! This is a multi-faceted problem, obviously. Here’s my story: I come from a very troubled background…I might have been one of those people on the street but for one thing… The Grace and Love of God. Not that it hasn’t been difficult for me! I’ve struggled and worked and prayed and cried out to God for many years (Feb. 4, 1972 to present- I’m now 70). God has ALWAYS provided for me. Does He love me more than anyone else? More than those living on the street? I don’t think so! It’s hard work to access the promises of God. Hard prayer-work! If I hadn’t done that prayer-work, I wouldn’t be where I am today, living in a house, starting a business (that God has blessed, by the way!) But I didn’t look to anyone else – I looked to myself and to God (although He has sent people to help me along the way, of course). I believe with all my heart that if anyone really knuckles down and gets real with God, that God will help him. It’s a promise I’ve seen fulfilled time and again. Not that it’s easy… not easy, but simple. Interested in my business? prosperityhere.com

Jonesy
5 years ago

In the “olden days” families took care of their weak and elderly, even if it meant sacrifices. It’s sad that the only discussion in America today is that government is solely responsible. Jonesy, age 80.

PaulE
5 years ago
Reply to  Jonesy

Yes that simply shows how far our culture has deteriorated since LBJ’s and the Dem’s Great Society scam.

Sheila
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Pau;

You are absolutely correct as I remember it was LBJ’s and the Dem’s Great Society scan back in 1963.

LYNN ALTON
5 years ago

stats say; 9.0f 10 homeless in the PNW CITIES ARE MENTALLY.ILL…AND DRUG ADDICTED…ANBREFUSE TOO USE GIVT PROVIDED FAVILITIES. THEY DO.NOT WANT TOO GIVE UP.DRUGS AN DRINKING

S. RICH
5 years ago
Reply to  LYNN ALTON

you are correct

Albert J. Evans
5 years ago

If all the able bodied slackers on welfare and fake disability were made to contribute to the system there would be plenty of funds to help the truly needy.

S. RICH
5 years ago

you got that right,, makes my blood boil to see all the people who want to get a check but not work for it!!!!!!

Jan
5 years ago

This article is vague in the assessment of the problem and offered no solutions other than replicate the “Hearth” program in Boston. With the report released this am on the trajectory of insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, unless our brave elected officials act (Repeal/replace the ACA, pro-growth tax reform, raise the age for SS, means test SS), the government isn’t going to be the direction to look for answers. When did the government become the go to for all social problems. Wait don’t answer that I am old enough to remember the “Great Society.” What would the number of homeless be like if we took the drug addicted and mentally ill out of the mix….thank you mainstreaming. There use to be hospitals for the mentally ill, not elegant but shelter. Clearly community sourced services for the mentally ill are not more effective than institutional care. Seems like everyone seen in our local clinic is on a mood stabilizer, young and old alike.
I live in Indiana and we have a plethora of small villages that are in decline, I drove through central Missouri in May and saw charming small ghost towns. The heartland is full of safe, small communities where a person could live in a modest apartment on a modest Social Security income verse on the streets of Orange County. Perhaps we need to invite people to reverse the migration of the 1970-80s. How about Habitat for Humanity for Seniors in MO and IN…..Illinois has similar little towns but that State is bankrupt, don’t go there.

Jim
5 years ago

Please call me a cynic. This opens lots of questions to me. Is homelessness, as reported, more of a transient or chronic condition. Does residing with a relative or friend without having one’s own place make one homeless? What are the numbers of mentally ill among this group? How many have resources but elect to live this lifestyle? What nongovernmental resources are available? Is homelessness related to geography? Is homelessness more seasonal? Etc.

Talking about a segment of a population then referencing data from the entire population is often a tool used to appeal to emotion rather than reason. Statistics obfuscate individual differences. Without more information, I’m unconvinced of the magnitude of the problem.

S. RICH
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim

yes u are a cynic…. but thats cool with me, i see a lot of people who call them selves homeless but it’s just because they know how to work the system….I think we need to do something about that

John Nelson
5 years ago

Any organization that messed up must be dismantled from the top. Fire every one making $100;000 yr and replace with veterans of rank and abilities.e

sellsat
5 years ago

I’d expect a article like this in AARP but not AMAC! These people made their choices, now need to pay the consequences it is NOT government or tax payers who should pay to support them. That is the place or role of Churches and Charities but not a Capitalist government.

Annie
5 years ago
Reply to  sellsat

I hope that you are never in need. There are older people who have worked but lived paycheck to paycheck. One major illness or some other issue and they lose what they have.

Pruitt
5 years ago
Reply to  Annie

Join the discussion Folks I am use to working with street people, and many of the men and women are on the street by choice. Some have money – some don’t. I propose the purchase of land and bunks (housing) outside the city limits, provide one free meal and from there if they wish to stay then they work for the additional stays and food. See how many you have stay after the first meal. Many would flee the scene lake a criminal. They have chosen (not all) to be in the street going from one hand out to the next. Some, not all, enjoy living off you and me as we work hard to make ends meet and have enough food for our families. And, if we continue to feed them in the inner cities they will continue to take the free food and free places to live.

Rik
5 years ago
Reply to  Pruitt

Some of what you say is true. The government came and interviewed 26 homeless people living in the woods and brush around the city library. They offered them apartments for only $350 a month, of the 26, only 3 took them up on it. Why only 3? I guess if you give drug addicts the choice, they would choose to spend the $350 on drugs first. The ones that took the apartments were seniors. The 59 year old white woman I referred to in my earlier comments had been living in her car since January and was extremely angry, frustrated, and depressed because she truly couldn’t find a job and was starting to develop health issues and was getting to where she didn’t care to live anymore. Sad, but this can be the case of “older” homeless.

Jerry in Nebraska
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

The government could fix homelessness the same way they fixed healthcare, by forcing everyone to buy a house! What’s the difference?

PaulE
5 years ago

The government tried that ludicrous scheme already Jerry. The Dems created the CRA to force the banks to lend money to people who could not pay it back or face heavy fines and loss of their ability to expand their businesses and even potentially the loss of the bank’s operating licenses for repeatedly missing the federal lending quotas that were set. That ended well in 2008 didn’t it?

Ivan Berry
5 years ago

Much more likely, Jerry, that they would just move the homeless into your house and mine as was the solution in early Soviet Russia. It all belongs to the State, you see. So, we must share what we once thought of as ours.

Sheila
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Rik

I don’t know why this white woman you referred to in your earlier comments had been living in her car since January as she could
have gone to any Catholic Charities as they would help her to find a job and also to find a nice place to lived. This is what Catholic Charities does, to helped people who are homeless.

Rik
5 years ago
Reply to  Sheila

Sheila, I asked if she was a Christian, she said, no more! She went to different churches and asked if she could sleep in their parking lots and they all told her “no”.

John Nelson
5 years ago
Reply to  sellsat

Then you and your church should become the military to defend the country.

Theresa Rodriguez
5 years ago
Reply to  sellsat

Couldn’t agree with you more. That said, 80 to 100 years ago, people could – and did – go where-ever they wanted. Living off the land. Working when necessary to fill their belly’s. Hard to do now with “minimum wage” and the inability to be paid in cash. No “undeveloped land” around to live off of. I was born and raised in California but recently left for Utah as I can see how bad it’s gonna get. A Realtor friend just told me she can’t go places in Orange County and LA unescorted anymore… too dangerous. In Utah, there’s a program to get the homeless off the streets. The feeling here is it’s necessary to get people’s immediate needs like food and housing met before you can help with drugs and mental health. Even so, there are still those Blessedly Independent Americans here who refuse a hand out and are purposefully homeless – by choice. But only a handful. I’ve done some research for a foundation I wish to launch, FromYourHeart.org and I’ve found that many cities and states are trying many different things to help. I saw one state was trying a “tiny house” program. It looked like a camp ground of sorts that was dotted with tiny houses around the circumference with central picnic and BBQ areas and a larger building containing individual showers and restrooms some even have a meeting room where the residents can get together indoors. This gave the homeless “pride of ownership” again. Sometimes it really is that simple. I have always agreed with my Dad and Mom that those who want a hand “UP” should be helped all we can and those who just want a hand “OUT” well – NEXT!

John Higgins
5 years ago
Reply to  sellsat

In doing my family’s genealogy I found a family member who spent his last 5 years living in the “poor house” provided by New York City. This was in 1903.
He was buried in the potters field without a grave marker. Who was it that said , “we will always have the poor”? But we still should help those in need and not the freeloaders.

Rik
5 years ago

One has only to come to sunny, dark blue California to see more homeless than anywhere else. Why California? Milder weather, especially along the coast but more importantly, it’s the ultra-liberal policies of this Progressively Communist Democratically-run state where illegals get preferential benefits before American born citizens. I recently tried to go to the state to see if I could get into affordable Senior Housing, or maybe some type of rental assistance. Well, guess what I was told, “We HAVE to help Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, white women with children, then white women in general, than white male veterans and since I was not a veteran, there was no chance in hell that I could/would get any assistance.” So, working for 44 years, paying taxes, I discovered I really had no rights. I recently met a 59 year old woman, too young for Social Security benefits, long ago exhausted her unemployment benefits. She went on a job interview to a local Arby’s Restaurant. The Sales Manager was Hispanic and ALL the other employees were Hispanic. Guess what? She didn’t get the job because “She couldn’t speak Spanish!” That’s America today people. Citizens born and raised here, paying taxes all their working lives are NOW discriminated against for low paying jobs that are now dominated by the illegals. Even food stamp programs show preferential benefits to non-citizens than real citizens. 90% of the homeless here in Orange County, California are White! … AND THE PROGRESSIVELY COMMUNIST DEMOCRATS CAN’T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY LOST THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION???? … and of course, OUR stupid Republican Congress CAN’T get anything right!!! … Ugh!

PaulE
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

HI Rik,

Comrade Mayor Bill in NYC is trying his hardest to catch up to the Socialist Utopia that is currently enjoyed by much of California. Dueling coasts of the country vying to be the premier showcase for what may be America’s future, if the red states in this country don’t push back hard real soon against the intentional roadblocks to positive change being orchestrated by Progressives in both parties. Fun times ahead huh?

Pruitt
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Join the discussion PaulE, I really don’t think that Rik needs any help from comrade mayor Bill. He needs help from American not a comrade communist.

PaulE
5 years ago
Reply to  Pruitt

I was merely pointing out to Rik that California is not unique. Re-read my post to understand the point I was making. Other states and cities run by Democrats share many, if not all, of the issues discussed in the AMAC article. A common set of so-called progressive (socialist) policies will always yield the same results. Since Comrade Bill in NYC became Mayor the homeless problem in the city has exploded. Yet it is of course NOT covered by the mainstream media, as that would shine a negative light on the progressive policies that encouraged that expansion.

The Democrats that control both the state and cities of California enabled the homeless situation to grow through their progressive policies. Everything is a right. Everything should be supplied, in one form or another, by the government. Personal responsibility and personal work ethic, what’s that? Those are foreign concepts to the Progressive Party. It is one thing if someone is genuinely physically or mentally disabled and in need of assistance, because they have no means to care for themselves properly. We already have numerous programs at both the state and federal level to address that situation. It is another thing for able-bodied and mentally fit people in their 20’s through 50’s to expect the government should provide shelter, food, medical care and walking around money, because they think work is beneath them and they are “owed” a living.

If you ask many of the homeless on the street, the will tell you that this is their choice. They don’t want to stay in city or state run housing, because they have to conform to the rules or they “don’t like the atmosphere” of those places. Yes, a minority of the homeless are mentally ill, but they are a very, very small minority and the law in many locals states that unless these people pose a danger to others or themselves or the weather poses a danger (as in severe winter cold), they cannot be forced to stay in city or state shelters. That AMAC is calling for construction of yet more “permanent and affordable supportive” housing makes little sense. That is what I would expect AARP to advocate.

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Let us face it, PaulE. Growing old in a collectivist state just ain’t for sissies. Most of these problems and the increase of those dependant is the fault of progressives and their selection of winners and loosers. Families no longer as willing to support their needy, the mobile society separated once loved ones from other members, out of sight/out of mind. Of course the solution will be more of the same. Funny that the only areas that socialism ever actually worked is not on their agenda: extended families, communities, neighborhoods, all where everyone knew who they were dealing with and knew who to trust as well as who to avoid.

PaulE
5 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Yes, there is NO real mention of the role of family, immediate or extended, in the article. Either in a positive sense or a negative sense. That is of course an important option that should have been covered by the article, if the intent were to have a deep discussion of the issue. Then again, that isn’t the goal of the article. The article is designed to push a government program, this one out of progressive Boston, as the silver bullet solution to the problem. Lets make it a federal program will be the next cry, so it can be replicated in every state. Whether the citizens of those states want it or not. That’s the ticket. Yet another government program is always the answer. Anyway, this is unfortunately the direction we’re on Ivan.

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Yep. You’ve got it.

Theresa Rodriguez
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE, Rik! It’s past time for President Trump to use the Nuclear Option and Build that wall. Then they can deport the 20 Million Illegals here who get our Taxpayer Dollars (and DON’T EVEN try to tell me that in a nation that can track Billions of Dollars thru a banking system can’t find those Illegals – I won’t believe it). I’d like to see our Elderly and Veteran Homeless cared for asap but since there are supposedly only 1.5 Million Homeless (according to a recent Federal study) we should have MORE than enough to care for ALL our homeless after those here Illegally are gone.

Clark Kent
5 years ago

Let’s kill two birds with one stone and also deport the homeless to Mexico.

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