Please read and share this New York Times article on elderly homelessness Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis
Dirk lives in a tent homeless in Venice Beach, California. This is his first time being homeless. Dirk is 64 years-old. He lived and worked as an independent contractor in Montana for 14 years. In his own words, Dirk says he is tired. It’s time to retire. As most American’s do, Dirk has been paying into Social Security all of his life. He figured Social Security would provide his retirement funds. When Dirk filed at 62, they told him he didn’t have enough credits. Dirk has now filed again at 64. he says that he is wondering if they will ever pay him after 40 years of working and paying into Social Security.
At the beginning of this interview, Dirk shares about how lucky he is to be living in a tent one block from the beach. Truth is, Dirk is disabled. Dirk told me after this interview, he is losing his sight and is partially blind. He can no longer work. Montana winters are cold. Dirk was looking for a warmer climate. Dirk didn’t plan on ending up homeless on a sidewalk in Venice Beach. He was passing through, and the coronavirus hit. The pandemic made travel almost impossible, so Dirk is making the best of it.
Dirk says he has a case manager helping him get into housing and file for Social Security. At the time of this interview, Los Angeles police allowed homeless people to keep their tents up all day. CDC guidelines changed how police dealt with homeless encampments.
Elderly homelessness was a growing crisis even before the pandemic. Boomers are reaching 65 years-old at 10,000 people a day. Like me, many lost everything in the 08 crash. They don’t have retirement funds. Now with the pandemic, all demographics of homelessness will skyrocket.
Dirk’s point of US vs THEM may be true. He’s right that there is plenty of money in this great country of ours. We the good people need to do something about them the bad people Dirk says. If we all just learned to love each other.
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.