April 1, 2010
There is some troubling evidence that homelessness is beginning to increase among elderly adults. In addition, there are demographic factors -- such as the anticipated growth of the elderly population as baby boomers turn 65 years of age and recent reports of increases in the number of homeless adults ages 50 to 64 -- that suggest a dramatic increase in the elderly homeless population between 2010 and 2020. While the country's changing demographics may make this finding unsurprising, it has serious implications for providers of homeless services and should be deeply troubling to the policymakers that aim to prevent poverty and homelessness among the elderly through local and federal social welfare programs. This paper provides an assessment of the recent and projected changes in homelessness among the elderly and assesses the ability of public affordable housing programs to handle the projected growth in elderly persons at-risk of housing instability and homelessness.