Homeless Shelters Seeing More Women Over 60

  1. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/0...women-over-60/

    It's a disturbing trend emerging from Twin Cities homeless shelters: a rapidly growing number of women over the age of 60 who are showing up with nowhere else to go.

    "About one-third of our women who stay the night are elderly," said Envoy Bill Miller with the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Shelter downtown, where Cindy stays. "It just breaks your heart, these are women who should be in a nursing home somewhere and here they are homeless."

    It's the byproduct of a burgeoning homeless problem. There were 1,453 homeless families reported in Hennepin County last year, the highest number in more than a decade. More than 500 people cram Harbor Light on an average night, an increase of 19 percent over the past 13 months.

    Miller did not have the immediate breakdown of age and gender, but he estimates the number of elderly homeless women at his shelter has far outpaced the general number of 19 percent.

    "It's been staggering and is really becoming an epidemic," Miller said. "A lot of the people we're seeing are from other areas of the state, (coming here) because their more rural homeless shelters are full. It is really a statewide problem."
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   tewdles
    How sad...terribly sad
  4. by   TheCommuter
    I wonder how this can happen when social programs such as social security are in place for people over a certain age.

    My grandmother was a poor widow in high cost-of-living coastal southern California, but she never became homeless. Her only sources of income included a social security check for $250 per month and a widow's pension check for $350, which added up to a whopping total of $600 monthly.

    She always rented old studio apartments in seedy parts of town for about $500 per month and utilities consumed the remainder of her money. She depended on food pantry donations for groceries.
  5. by   somenurse
    People can become homeless for any number of reasons, sometimes, mental illness is involved, but that is not stated in this case. Her rent was raised, and she could no longer pay the increased rent. It's likely, that due to her inability to pay her rent, she ruined her credit. <--this can be a big step down in one's ability to qualify to move somewhere else.

    She also had debt. It can be difficult for someone with bad credit to find places to rent, as evicting a person is a landlord's nightmare, takes months, and during that time, the landlord is losing income and spending money to accomplish the eviction. This makes many landlords and property managers very leery to rent to those with no job, bad credit and debt and very low income.
    Usually, the new tenant has to have first, last, deposit, as well as deposits for each and eveyr utility, and these deposits are usually higher
    for those with bad credit or no job.

    That can add up to $1000s of dollars to shell out, all at once, just to move in, and that could be impossible for an unemployed older person to do. Besides the higher deposits req'd of the poor----many property managers also require a "risk fee" (non-refundable!) to rent to anyone with no job, bad credit, debt, etc.

    Many types of aide require the person has an address to receive it, as well as transportation to the building to apply for it, as well as knowledge this option even exists.

    Older people are often the first to be let go when a company is downsizing. Older people tend to cost a company more to keep on, as their mere presence can raise the insurance rates for the company---the older person's chance of needing medical care is higher than the younger employee.
    If the older person has been employee for a long time, they might be being paid more, and getting more vacation time, and they can be seen as 'too expensive' to keep on in hard times.
    Older people today may have zero retirement funds, and many who did, lost their 401K in various stockmarket plunges. Some older people retirement pay disappeared when the company went under.---IF they had a job that even offered that at all.

    The cost of healthcare is often a huge portion of an older person's monthly expenditures, far more than their rent.
    Older people are more vulnerable to scams, as well, and some are taken advantage of in that way, too.

    It's really not that shocking to ME anyway, that an older person can end up homeless, but, it makes it no less sad.
    Last edit by somenurse on Feb 3, '13
  6. by   herring_RN
    In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn't Better ... It's Brutal

    In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department's latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.

    These Americans in their 50s and early 60s-those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security-have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.

    Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname "Generation Squeeze."
    New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care. ...

  7. by   herring_RN
    I remember when I went back to school in the mid 1980s and worked just enough to maintain health insurance.

    Interest on regular bank savings was enough for a weeks expenses, groceries for four, gas, TP, and soap.

    No we have more than 10 times that much and interest isb't enough for one week a year.
  8. by   TopazLover
    I just spoke to two different women about being homeless or nearly so. One has had the electric and water turned off. She remains in her home for now. She is a nurse who became disabled and was fired when she tried to return to work. The other is losing her home as she cannot no longer may the mortgage and is raising grandchildren. I was able to direct her to a homeless shelter that does not break up families. We are seeing many grandparents going broke trying to raise grandchildren for a variety of reasons, none good. Jail is the one I see most commonly in my job. There just is not enough help for the very young, the old and the infirm.

    People scream "entitlement" and perseverate about cell phones. I meet many of the granparents in the cheap meat isle. They try to mix beans and ham hocks or something like that to stretch the food. many have to rely on taxis or buses to go shopping. If you are caring for small children and trying to carry groceries a bus is not always possible.

    I see one young lady at least weekly. She is trying to get her life in order. She is working on her CNA. As a CNA she still will not make enough to make it. But she figures it is a boot straps kind of activity. She can do better and perhaps get other help so she does not need "entitlements".

    The old cannot do this. Their time of "boots straps" has gone by. Illness, injury, lack of others in the family who can take them in. We will see more elders showing up as homeless. It is really sad.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Many of my older pts decide between their meds and food and paying the utilities. When its 10 degrees outside, having heat inside your house is a necessity. Very sad that so many of our younger folks look to go overseas to serve - honestly guys all you have to do is look down the block....
  10. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from aknottedyarn
    People scream "entitlement" and perseverate about cell phones.
    and it is screamed repetitively and vociferously.

    i have been one of those bleeding hearts my entire life so yeah, stories such as this only serve to work harder in getting the help these people need.
    there is absolutely no need for this.
    and while poverty has been a life-long affliction in u.s. society, it seems to have deteriorated into a broad-spectrum lifestyle.

    yes, i am painfully aware of those who masterfully milk the system and it is a notable kink that needs major overhaul.
    it is seemingly that 'gawd-awful media' (et al) that take interest in perpetuating the perception that many on govt assistance are living well. (those danged cell phones, kwim?)
    perhaps if media reported on the actual depravity that surrounds all of us in daily life, we would treat this with the homage it so desperately lacks.

    i will remain active in the fight against poverty.

    for those who consistently buy lottery tickets, perhaps you could use that money in donating to your local food pantry?
    a little goes a long way.

    in the meantime, durn those cell phone recipeints on public assistance!! (*shakes fists*!!)

  11. by   somenurse
    It's hard to figure how those who want to people on food stamps, etc, to find jobs, or better paying jobs,
    without having a phone. Without a phone, it can be harder to get hired.
    Not all cell phones are expensive,(the walmart plan is only about $0.75 per day, and some are far cheaper, as low as $10 per month)

    and no way to know, how many humans are sharing that one cell phone, either.

    and most people on aide have children--most are parents. It's actually kinda hard to get aide without children in tow, (not impossible, but a lot harder to do).
    I think, most americans in 2013 america, could agree, part of being a responsible parent could include having a cell phone available, to call docs, to be able to follow kids/pick up kids, talk to their kids teachers, have way for school to contact the parent, etc, or even to call 911 as needed, etc.

    i wonder if those who seem to know so so little about poor people, also would begrudge the poor person who has electricity or heat?

    but yeah, lots of people seem to oddly think of poor people on aide, as 'getting over', shiver! They rail against poor people welfare, yet, not a peep about corporate welfare, which costs far more than poor people aide does.
    Last edit by somenurse on Feb 4, '13