I first met Granny the night before. She was sitting down on a sidewalk panhandling. I said hello and gave her some socks. We talked for a little bit but I didn’t get to know her.
Last night I was walking around and I hear “thank you for the socks” off in the distance. I turn and there was Granny. I walked over to say hello and started to ask her a little more about her story.
Granny is homeless in Gainesville, Florida. She ran away from an orphanage when she was just 13. Granny has been on and off the streets homeless since then.
Granny was in placed into housing for a month but she didn’t feel safe where they housed her. Often the only landlords that participate in housing programs have properties in bad neighborhoods. Before being housed, Granny was homeless for almost six years.
Granny has a strong faith. She tries to help others when she can. When I asked her about all of the people walking by her she responded “that’s OK. Not everyone knows Jesus the way I do. Some call themselves Christians but it’s just a name to them.”
It’s heartbreaking to see so many homeless seniors out on the streets. Homeless shelters are starting to look like nursing homes. The elderly homeless population is the fastest growing demographic of homelessness. It’s very scary because there are not enough resources to help all of the people now. The growing senior homelessness will tax a system that’s already overwhelmed.