Homeless Over 50: The Graying of Chicago's Homeless Population

Jun 26, 2008
  • Description

In the winter of 2006, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness teamed with Loyola University's Center for Urban Research and Learning to undertake a nine-month study of people in Chicago who were homeless and aged 50 to 64. This study, funded by the Retirement Research Foundation, was undertaken in response to reports from homeless service agencies that this cohort of people was growing. Starting in 2005, agencies including Matthew House, Featherfist and Deborah's Place reported a fast-growing number of people aged 50-64 using homeless services, and that they seemed to both share issues with the rest of the homeless population and face circumstances unique to their age and stage of life. The goal of this study, then, was threefold: 1. To obtain a demographic profile of people who are homeless in Chicago and are between the ages of 50 and 64; 2. To understand how the various systems designed to serve this population do and do not meet their needs; and 3. To begin to suggest a range of policy and programmatic responses to the needs of this population.