The Epidemic of Homelessness & Older Adults

In recent years there has been a large change in those who experience homelessness.  It is an aging population with an emerging crisis of elderly homelessness, expected to double between now and the end of the next decade.  In North America, over 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day. They are the fastest growing age group for those experiencing homelessness.[1]  I have been in contact with local shelters in the Region and have heard that they are seeing more seniors enter their shelters than ever before.

Studies have shown that one half of the homeless population over age 50 have never experienced homelessness before[2] and that the average life expectancy for those experiencing homelessness is 65 years, well below the national average.[3] This premature death is caused by acute and chronic medical conditions made worse by living on the street.  One study showed that a 50-year old homeless person can suffer the same physical limitations as a housed 80-year old.[4] These physical limitations make them extremely vulnerable to victimization and crime, at twice the rate as the rest of the population.[5]

Many of these issues are treatable and preventable, and it starts with support from community members like you that believe in the importance of affordable housing. With your support we have been able to add 144 Erb Street as part of the SHOW family. This building houses 24 seniors ties in perfectly with SHOW’s core values, vision and mission of working to support all individuals who have either experienced homelessness, or those at risk of being on the streets while focusing on those seniors that need it the most

Homelessness is traumatizing to everyone, and especially so for older adults.  You understand that closing the housing affordability gap starts with increasing the available supply, and your support allows SHOW to continue to assist in increasing that availability. 


[1] Source – https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200226.712105/full/

[2] Source – https://generations.asaging.org/homelessness-older-adults-poverty-health

[3] Source – https://invisiblepeople.tv/homeless-seniors-age-faster-die-sooner-than-housed-counterparts/

[4] Source – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/magazine/homeless-seniors-elderly.html

[5] Source – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0886260519850532