Simba (street name) met his wife fishing. I love that. Sadly, Simba’s wife was very sick from complications with diabetes. She needed a kidney transplant. Simba’s wife was on the transplant list at USC Medical Center, but while she was waiting for a donor, her health got worse.
The emotional stress of being her caregiver was hard enough; when his wife died, Simba became severely depressed. He started to self medicate with marijuana to help him sleep. This was four years ago, and people’s views of marijuana were much different then. Today, it probably would not even be an issue, but Simba’s landlord used his cannabis use to evict him.
Simba is homeless in Venice Beach, California. He’s a gentle, kind man who should not be living on the streets in his senior years. Elderly homelessness is growing at alarming rates. Boomers are hitting 65 at 10,000 people a day, and many lost everything in the 2008 recession. The coronavirus pandemic is going to make things even worse.
Simba’s first night homeless he slept on a bench at a Metrolink station. He woke up without his wife and best friend, and without a home. A first night homeless is something no one should experience.
Simba’s story is powerful and heartbreaking. I appreciate his candor when I asked him about living homeless as a senior. For many of us growing older, incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. Now imagine living on the streets without bathrooms or privacy, or the ability to change into clean clothes. Elderly homelessness is a serious crisis, and we need you to help take action to end homelessness.
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.