Florida's Homeless Population Now Includes More Seniors than Ever Before

Toby Hazlewood

Increased housing costs blamed for the rise in senior homelessness

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the cost of living for everyone. Part of this is down to disrupted supply chains that have reduced supplies of some goods, and increased the cost of what's available.

Inflation, caused by relentless money-printing by the Federal Government to prop up the economy has also weakened the purchasing power of dollars in our pockets.

Things have been even worse for those who lost their jobs and incomes as a result of the pandemic.

Nobody has been immune to these challenges - not even senior citizens who should be enjoying their retirements. It has recently come to light, reported on November 1st that an increasing number of South Florida's seniors are being made homeless as their fixed-incomes can no longer meet increasing housing costs.

It's a long-term national problem too, highlighted by the stories of a similar nature that have been reported in the media from news outlets across the country for many years now, including this one that highlighted the same issue in California over a year ago:

Homelessness is worsening in Florida

Florida has the third-largest homeless population in the USA, at 27,487, following California and New York according to data reported in September 2020. According to the Florida Coalition to End Homelessness, the issue has come about due to long-term issues like the defunding of community based mental health services, but it has been worsened significantly by the steady reduction in low-income housing provision that has been witnessed in the last 35 years.

Their data suggests that as at 2019, there may have been a shortage of as many as 428,622 rental units available and affordable to low income renters. Given that many seniors retire to Florida in search of some sunshine to see out their days and often struggle to meet escalating housing costs that have been witnessed in recent years, this could help to explain why so many of them are ending up homeless.

Thank goodness for those willing to help the less-fortunate

In the face of escalating numbers of homeless seniors, it's fortunate that various charitable ventures have undertaken to address the situation, including The Homeless Trust which was set-up to establish homeless shelters specifically for the elderly. In an interview published on November 1, Homeless Trust chairman Ron Book had this to say:

"Those over 60 now account for 1 in 4 of the county’s homeless population. Pre-COVID, we were already seeing an overload with senior homelessness. There were 183 seniors living on the streets and 425 seniors — about 78 percent of them male — housed in shelters when the Homeless Trust took its biannual census in August."

Nothing will make the problem go away without more caring individuals and organisations like The Homeless Trust, and a more ready-supply of affordable housing for those who need it.

At their time of life, seniors should be able to access low-cost housing if they need it, rather than having to live on the streets when the money runs out.

What do you think about the increase in homeless seniors being witnessed across the USA? What do you think should be done to address the situation? Let me know in the comments section below.

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