Elderly Homeless Rates Jump In New York City; Nearly 500 Of Today’s Residents Are Over 65 | New York , New York | New York Daily News
The number of elderly homeless people in New York City shelters has shot up 55% in the last 10 years, a hidden and growing population among the city’s most vulnerable adults.
A Daily News review of homeless statistics found that as of December, there were 2,234 single adults over 55 in the shelter system, compared to 1,437 in 2002.
In the last two years alone, there was a 28% jump. Nearly 500 of today’s residents are over 65, coping with the premature ravages of aging along with no permanent roof overhead.
Those who work with the homeless say it is a troubling trend exacerbated by economic hard times.
Nearly one-third of homeless adults in the U.S. today are over 50, compared to 11% in the 1990s, according to national studies.
Karen Jorgenson, who has run the only shelter in the city for older New Yorkers since 1988, said today’s elderly homeless are different than what the city experienced in the late 1980s, when the predominant group of women had severe mental illness, and the men were largely alcoholics and drug addicts.
“As time has gone on, there have been more and more economic homeless,” said Jorgensen, director of Valley Lodge shelter in Morningside Heights. “They are people who did the right thing, but they didn’t have a pension plan or a nest egg when they retired, and their rent started to equal their income.”