I met Ron in St Louis, Missouri. Ron was living with his nephew and then his social security disability payments were stopped. The only way he could fight to get them back was with a lawyer, and because he didn’t have money for legal help Ron ended up homeless.
Please forgive me but I am about to go into a little rant. At the time of this interview, Ron lived in a shelter that is 10 days in and 30 days out. That means after staying there 10 days you are kicked out and cannot return until after a 30 days period! THAT IS STUPID! No one can get their life back in 10 days, or 30 days even. I know of a shelter in Anchorage, Alaska, that is 30 days in and 30 days out. Imagine you lose your job and then your apartment. It’s winter time and you go into a shelter. If you cannot find a new job and come up with a months rent and security deposit within 10 days, or 30 days, you are kicked out in to the cold weather.
Shelters that run policies like this will tell you it’s to motivate people to find work and a place to stay. But the real truth is it’s money. This type shelter does little to get people out of their crisis and actually perpetuates homelessness. Although I am a big supporter of housing first model, there is still need for shelters, but this type shelter system makes no logical sense and much change if we are to have any impact on ending homelessness.
Ron is 65 years-old and is spending his retirement years homeless. Sadly, we are going to see more seniors on the streets as the ‘boomer generation’ gets older. Without savings, assets or healthcare, this will tax our social services system to the crisis level, yet no one is walking about it.