Seniors Over 50 Make up Almost Half of California’s Unhoused Population

A new study finds that low-income seniors are increasingly unable to find affordable housing.

2 minute read

June 20, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The “largest and most comprehensive investigation of California’s homeless population in decades” found that close to half of unhoused people in California are over 50, putting them at unique risks as they navigate living on the street or in shelters. Anita Chabria highlights the study’s findings in the Los Angeles Times.

The study, conducted by the University of California, San Francisco’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, reveals that “As Californians age, they are being priced out of housing.” According to the study, “the results held regardless of whether a person was without housing in one of our large cities, or in our less-populated northern and eastern counties.”

The implications of the study indicate that many seniors fall into homelessness after a critical life event, and affordable housing is often not available. “For every 100 extremely low-income people in California, defined as making less than 30% of area median income, there are only 24 units of affordable housing available.” 

Dr. Margot Kushel, lead investigator on the study “said her findings should be a wake-up call that while access to substance use treatment and rebuilding the mental health care system are urgent for some of the homeless population, the only solution to homelessness is housing.” Moreover, “we have to do better at keeping people in the housing they have, through rent subsidies and other direct intervention, when life punches them in the face.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 in Los Angeles Times

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