Communities Will Need to Meet Increasing Health Care Needs of the Aging Homeless Population
NJCounts 2019 found 8,864 men, women and children, in 6,748 households, experienced homelessness across New Jersey. This number decreased by 439 persons (5%) from 2018. NJCounts 2019 counted individuals who were homeless on the night of January 22, 2019.
Monarch Housing’s Associate Nadine Azari did a deeper dive into the data around New Jersey’s aging homeless population.
Among the findings in Nadine’s analysis, the over 55 population made up one-fifth of the homeless population in New Jersey. Of the 8,864 identified homeless persons counted in the Point-in-Time, 1,799 (20%) were over the age of 55. This 20% is a small increase from the 1,751 identified in the 2018 count.
And the percentage of the homeless population over the age of 55 grows within the chronically homeless population. Most persons who identified as chronically homeless were over the age 45 (814 persons, 56%). And most unsheltered persons identified were over the age of 45 (793 persons, 55%).
The homeless veteran population in New Jersey is an aging population. Most veterans identified were over the age of 55 (337 persons, 61%).
What are the implications of the NJCounts 2019 numbers around the aging homeless population in New Jersey? As communities work to end homelessness in New Jersey, they will face increased costs associated with the increased health care needs of an aging population. The aging homeless population, including the chronic and unsheltered aging population and the veteran population, faces challenges associated with declining health statuses.
This aging homeless population, similar to the aging population already living in their own homes, may also need a more intense and a more more variety of available services to help them live stably in their own homes as they continue to age.
And looking at the homeless population over the age of 45, broken down by race and ethnicity, 47% of homeless persons identified as White, 38% of homeless persons identified as Black or African American and 29% of persons identified as Hispanic/Latino.
The full NJCounts report 2019 and county by county reports are available here.