The homeless population grew rapidly between 2017 and 2021, in part due to the pandemic, but this doesn’t explain all of a 43% increase in those seeking to access homelessness services. Even more alarming is the increase in those over 55 seeking assistance, a whopping 84%. This is not at all proportional to the 7% increase in the total population over 55.
Many of these people were already homeless and are growing older on the streets or in shelters. If these conditions continue, such people are unlikely to live much longer. With the living conditions of people out on the streets, poor access to healthcare, and crackdowns on homelessness by authorities, an age of 50 is more like an age of 70 in terms of health and life expectancy. With the slowly decreasing overall life expectancy in the US in recent years, this does not give them much time.
An increasing number of them, though, are becoming homeless after the age of 50. Older adults, especially those who are retired, often live alone on a small fixed income. Their income is frequently just barely enough to pay rent and afford groceries. With rent prices having skyrocketed, and Social Security benefits not keeping up, many of these people are no longer able to afford rent and are forced out of their homes.