The Graying of America’s Homeless

Homeless Seniors – Old and On the Street

A May 31, 2016 New York Times piece, “Old and On the Street” highlights the growing problem of “The Graying of American’s Homeless.”

According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in 2014, 306,000 individuals over the age of 50 are living on the street.

Since 2007, there has been a 20% increase of 50 year olds living on the streets. Thirty-one percent (31%) of the U.S. homeless population is over the age of 50. The younger baby boom generation is driving up these numbers.

“It’s hard when you get older, I’m in this wheelchair. I had a seizure and was in a convalescent home for two months. I just ride the bus back and forth all night.”

Said Ken Sylvas, 65, who has struggled with alcoholism and has not worked since he was fired in 2001 from a meatpacking job.

Older adults experiencing homelessness often face major health issues on top of deep poverty. On average, someone living on the streets is only expected to live to be 64.

“We are getting sandwiched by real old folks and real young folks. It’s horrific.”

Said Heather Carmichael, the executive director of My Friend’s Place which provides services for homeless youth in Los Angeles.

On the other end of the age spectrum, according to HUD, in 2014, there were 235,000 homeless Americans between 18 and 30, making up 24 percent of the nation’s homeless population.

That was up from 226,000 in 2007, when the age group made up 20 percent of the total homeless population.

Join us on July 13th at the Congressional Reception to advocate to end homelessness.

Old and On the Street