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By Location Alaska Albuquerque Allentown Amsterdam Anaheim Anchorage Ann Arbor Atlanta Austin Baton Rouge Bend Binghamton Boston Boulder Canada Cardiff Charlotte Chatsworth Chicago Chippenham Cleveland Columbia SC Columbus Dallas Denver Des Moines Detroit Edmonton Eugene Fayetteville Fort McMurray Fredericton Gainesville Glendale Great Falls Greensboro Harbor City Harrisburg Hawaii Hawthorne Hollywood Honolulu houston Ithaca Kalkaska Kelowna Koreatown Las Vegas Lima London London (Canada) Los Angeles Louisville Manchester Miami Minneapolis/St Paul Montreal Nashville New Orleans New York City Nickelsville Norway Oakland Ocala Oslo Ottawa Oxford Paradise Pasadena Peru Philadelphia Phoenix Pine Ridge Pittsburgh Portland Reseda Sacramento Salt Lake City San Diego San Francisco San Jose San Luis Obispo Santa Monica Saskatoon Seattle Shawnee Skid Row Springfield St John's St Louis St. Petersburg Syracuse Tacoma Tampa Toronto Traverse City Tulsa United Kingdom Vancouver Venice Beach Vermont Victoria Wales Washington DC Wentzville Westwood Wichita Wilmington Winnipeg Yellowknife By topic Addiction Advocacy Affordable housing Art and Music Awareness Charity Cold Weather College Students Community Involvement Coronavirus Couch Surfing Couple Criminalization Data Disabled Divorce Domestic violence Drug testing Education Employment Eviction Ex-convict Faith based Families Family conflict Female Financial crisis Foster care Harm reduction Health care HIV/AIDS Homeless count Homeless deaths Hostels (UK shelters) Hotels Housing First HUD Human trafficking Identification Incarceration Indigenous Invisible People Invisible Stories Job loss K2/Spice (Synthetic Marijuana) LGBT Libraries Lived Experience Male Mental illness Mobile Homeless Natural disasters NIMBY Outreach Panhandling Peer Support Pets Poverty Pregnant PTSD Public Feeding Racism Recycling Relationships Research Rural Schools Seniors Sex Offenders Sex Worker Shelters Single Parent Social Media Social Security Socks Solutions Street Soccer Survival sex System Failure Systems Change Technology Tent Cities Tiny Homes Transgender Travelers Veteran Vietnam Veteran Violence Waiting list Welfare Working poor Youth EVENTS @home contests PBS road trip road trip 2009 road trip 2010 road trip 2011 road trip 2013 to fight youth homelessness sober birthday campaign SXSW TEDx INTERVIEWS Learn More Canadian Homelessness Coronavirus and Homelessness Criminalization of Homelessness Family Homelessness Homeless Seniors Homeless Veterans Homeless Youth Homelessness Mobile Homelessness Panhandling Tent Encampments U.K. Homelessness MISCELLANEOUS 360 video Awards Cause Marketing Dream Center Gates Foundation Google Glass Media Patreon Tribute World Trade Center YouTube More Updates

How Many Elderly People Are Homeless?

homeless seniors

Number of Homeless Seniors

America’s population of homeless seniors is increasing. Exactly how many homeless senior citizens are there in the U.S.? According to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, there were almost 67,000 elderly individuals (people age 62 or older) in homeless shelters in 2016. In addition, the report states that the number of homeless elderly individuals increased 48.2 percent (21,549 more people) between 2007 and 2016.

Why are the numbers of elderly homeless people increasing? For one, the “Baby Boomer” population (people born between 1946 and 1964) is aging. Known for being a large segment of Americans, Baby Boomers typically follow two major pathways into homelessness:

  1. Aging of chronically homeless adults
  2. First-time homelessness among older/elderly adults

In the first pathway, chronically homeless individuals continue to age without stable housing. They were homeless as middle-aged adults and did not obtain housing before aging into the senior population.

In the second pathway, older and elderly individuals who have had homes or stable apartments experience homelessness for the first time. During middle age, most Baby Boomers were okay financially; however, the 2008 Recession hit them hard. Many lost wealth from investments or property, and some lost their homes. This made homelessness much more likely for people in their age group. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused people to lose their jobs or have higher medical bills, increasing the risk of homelessness.

Unique Challenges Homeless Seniors Face

In addition to unique pathways into homelessness, seniors experience unique challenges that make it hard for them to exit homelessness. For example, limited physical or mental abilities can prevent an elderly person from working. As a result, they often live on a fixed income (e.g., Social Security, other retirement funds, or support from family).

Declining health can also bring up new costs—like the cost of healthcare for serious illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. This can take away from the amount of money someone has to pay their rent or mortgage.

Oftentimes these two factors are combined and contribute to first-time homelessness among elderly people.


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C4 Innovations advances recovery, wellness, and housing stability for people who are marginalized. We are committed to reducing disparities and achieving equitable outcomes. We partner with service organizations, communities, and systems to develop and implement research-based solutions that are: person-centered, recovery-oriented, and trauma-informed.

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