July 05, 2024

Homelessness Among Older Adults

July 05, 2024

Supreme Court Approves Criminalization of Homelessness

On June 28, the Supreme Court ruled that subjecting people experiencing homelessness to penalties for sleeping outdoors is not “cruel and unusual” punishment. The Supreme Court’s decision upholds a local ban on outdoor sleeping in public spaces by people without shelter, even when no adequate shelter resources are provided.

The ruling was announced just a day after a Congressional Subcommittee advanced a 7.3% cut to funding levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the coming fiscal year.

LeadingAge is deeply concerned with the impacts of the decision, and we call on local governments to utilize proven homelessness interventions rather than criminalization. Older adult homelessness is the fastest growing type of homelessness in America, and our country’s older adults are in urgent need of housing resources.

Read more about the case and the potential impacts here.

May 30, 2024

Episodes of Homelessness Longer for Older Adults

A new report on the rise of homelessness among older adults (50+) in California, “Toward Dignity: Understanding Older Adult Homelessness,” found that 41% experienced homelessness for the first time after age 50, older adults experience longer episodes of homelessness than younger people, and Black Californians are over-represented among California’s homeless older adults, among other findings. The report details findings regarding 50+ year old people from research conducted between October 2021 and November 2022, by staff from the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative who administered 3,200 questionnaires and conducted 365 in-depth qualitative interviews with adults experiencing homelessness throughout California to better understand who experiences homelessness, pathways to homelessness, experiences during homelessness, and barriers to regaining permanent housing.

See previous UCSF Benioff research here. LeadingAge relies on such data to advocate for the significant expansion of HUD programs, including the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, to address the nation’s shortage of affordable senior housing.

April 24, 2024

Advocacy Success: SSA Expands Rental Subsidy Policy for SSI Recipients

The Social Security Administration (SSA) published a final rule on April 11, “Expansion of the Rental Subsidy Policy for Supplemental Security Income Applicants and Recipients.” As LeadingAge urged, in comments submitted jointly with the National Alliance to End Homelessness on the SSA’s 2023 proposed rule, the SSA will make uniform across the U.S. a policy heretofore only available to people in seven states to not count informal rent help from family and friends against SSI benefits. This will leave more money in the pockets of the lowest income people and, we hope, slow rapidly increasing homelessness among older adults.

January 26, 2024

Renters Cost Burdened at Record Levels

According to a January 25 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, America’s Rental Housing 2024, a record number of 22.4 million renter households spent more than 30% of their incomes for housing—and 12.1 million renter households spent more than 50%—for rent in 2022.

Read the full LeadingAge article.

December 18, 2023

Older Adult Homelessness Data Improves but Homelessness Worsens

On December 15, HUD released a report, 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates, detailing findings from the January 2023 Point-in-Time Count (the Count). The Count, conducted nationwide on a single night every January, provides HUD with a snapshot of the number of individuals in shelters, temporary housing, and in unsheltered settings.

More than one in five people experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2023 was aged 55 or older. More than 98,000 people experiencing homelessness were aged 55 to 64, and almost 39,700 people were over age 64. Nearly half of adults aged 55 or older (46%) were experiencing unsheltered homelessness in places not meant for human habitation, according to the report.

After advocacy from LeadingAge and others to do so, beginning in 2023, communities were asked to collect additional information on the ages of people experiencing homelessness during the Count. Instead of a single category representing all people over the age of 24, as was the case before the 2023 count, five additional categories were used to provide more detail on the ages of people experiencing homelessness. These categories were 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65 or older. The January 2023 count documented 650,000 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2023, a 12% increase from January 2022’s Count.

“Homelessness is solvable and should not exist in the United States,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement. LeadingAge is working to prevent and end homelessness for older adults by advocating for Congress to rapidly expand the supply of affordable senior housing. Older adults are not immune to homelessness; HUD reports earlier this year documented, between 2019 and 2021, a 73% increase in chronic homelessness among older adults and a 10,000 person increase in older adults living in shelters.

November 29, 2023

More Data Needed on Homelessness Among Older Adults

LeadingAge commends the National Alliance to End Homelessness for urging federal officials to expand data collection on homelessness among older adults. Together we urged the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to improve the collection of data on older adults experiencing homelessness in annual Point-in-Time Counts.

In a new paper, the Alliance urges HUD to periodically produce an ad hoc report solely focused on older adult homelessness, which could offer a deeper analysis of the population than the current Annual Homeless Assessment reports.

The Alliance also recommends that the homeless services sector pilot new ways to incorporate Activities of Daily Living questions into their service models. Age-related declines can impact the accessibility and sustainability of housing solutions and ADL assessments should inform individual case planning and policy. Read the Alliance’s recommendations here.

November 07, 2023

Leadership Blog: Older Adult Housing and Homelessness Crisis

LeadingAge’s Linda Couch, VP of Affordable Housing Policy, shares insight into the growing homelessness plaguing low-income older adults in the United States—and how we need to address it.

November 01, 2023

HHS: Older Adults Fastest Growing Homelessness Group

Older adults are the fastest-growing age group of those experiencing homelessness, composing nearly half of the homeless population, according to an October 2023 Department of Health and Human Services HHS report, “Addressing Homelessness Among Older Adults: Final Report.” And the number of older adults experiencing homelessness is expected to triple by 2030, the report says.

Read the full LeadingAge article for more details on the report.

August 24, 2023

HUD Reports ‘Alarming’ Rise in Older Adult Homelessness

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released 2021 data in the 2021 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress Part 2 on August 21, 2023, showing “the number of elderly people with chronic patterns of homelessness increased by an alarming 73%” between 2019 and 2021. Nearly 10,000 more people aged 65 and older experienced sheltered homelessness in just two years.

Read the full LeadingAge article for more details on the report.

June 09, 2023

Building Partnerships to Help Solve National Crisis of Older Adult Homelessness

HumanGood, a California-based provider operating life plan and affordable housing communities in six states, is providing affordable housing for older adults currently or formerly experiencing homelessness. HumanGood’s Welcome Home initiative sets aside a percentage of affordable apartments by implementing an owner-adopted admissions preference for individuals experiencing homelessness, in keeping with HUD guidelines.

Read the full LeadingAge article to learn more about this initiative.

May 30, 2023

2023 State of Homelessness Report

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has issued its State of Homelessness: 2023 Edition. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data used in this report (from the 2022 Point in Time Count) do not allow the report to capture homelessness among older adults, which homeless services and housing providers and other research shows to be on the steep rise. The report does shed important light on the number of people left homeless because of the lack of affordable housing.

According to the report, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness and the number of chronically homeless individuals were at an all-time high in 2022. According to the Alliance, available data also demonstrates that race and ethnicity are key determinants that impact who will become homeless and the type and depth of rehousing barriers people will experience.

March 10, 2023

Older Adults Are Half of Nation’s Homeless Population

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development held a hearing on March 8, 2023, “The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.” Witnesses were Jeff Olivet, Executive Director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and Dr. Richard Cho, Senior Advisor for Housing and Services, HUD. Olivet called homelessness a “life-and-death public health crisis” and said that, over the course of a year more than 1.2 million people experience homelessness.

February 17, 2023

How Do Older Adults Exit Homelessness?

A new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “Connecting Older Adults to Housing: Examining Disparities,” sheds light on how older adults exit homelessness. The report, published in January 2023, analyzes a dataset of more than 64,000 people aged 25 and older to assess how homeless service systems are meeting the needs of older adults exiting into housing.

See LeadingAge’s key takeaways from the report here.

December 21, 2022

U.S. Seeks to Reduce Homelessness by 25% by 2025

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released “All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” on December 19, 2023, a multi-year roadmap “to create the systemic changes needed to end homelessness in our country.” The plan establishes an initial goal to reduce overall homelessness by 25% from the Point-in-Time Count in 2022 by 2025. To drive progress toward this ambitious goal, USICH will develop implementation work plans and begin putting the strategies in the plan into action during this fiscal year.

Read the full LeadingAge article for more details.

September 15, 2022

Homelessness Hastens Mortality for Older Adults

Research from the University of California San Francisco looks at mortality rates of older adults experiencing homelessness. Researchers found that people who first became homeless at age 50 or later were about 60% more likely to die than those who had become homeless earlier in life. Of course, homelessness was a risk for everyone. Researchers found that older adults who remained homeless were about 80% more likely to die than those who were able to return to housing.

Read the full LeadingAge article for more details.

September 08, 2022

Chairwoman Waters Seeks GAO Study on Homelessness and Housing Insecurity Among Older Adults

House Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has asked the Government Accountability Office to review “the aging population in America, their risks of experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness, and federal programs that target older Americans and help prevent homelessness.”

Read the August 2, 2023, letter here and the full LeadingAge article here.

July 20, 2022

Older Adult Homelessness Will Increase Significantly Without Action

“Over the next decade or so … demographic shifts will result in the older adult homeless population increasing significantly: nearly tripling by 2030. People of color are and will continue to be overrepresented in this population,” Ann Oliva, the chief executive office of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, at a July 19, 2022, hearing of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, “Opportunities and Challenges in Addressing Homelessness.”

Almost 600,000 people experience homelessness on any given night in the United States, Subcommittee Chair Tina Smith (D-MN) said in her opening statement. The biggest factor in rise of homelessness is the severe shortage of affordable housing and the lack of housing supply, Chair Smith said.

Read the full LeadingAge article for more details on the hearing.