Focusing Efforts on the Aging Population of Greater Richmond
In the United States, one has to be over 65 years old to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits. Those experiencing homelessness that are 60 years old and below suffer immensely as they do not receive these benefits, leading to significant consequences like severe mental, emotional and physical damages. According to statistics provided by Homeward, an astonishing 7,391 people entered an emergency shelter or transitional housing between 2014 and 2016. Worryingly, 26.9% of those were age 51 and above. 1 This statistic proves that an aging demographic make up a significant portion of those experiencing homelessness. These individuals face a range of social, political and economic challenges. However, the most obvious challenge is both mental and physical health. Health-related challenges include substance abuse, premature aging, chronic health problems and victimization on the streets.
HomeAgain is dedicated to ending homelessness and providing stable housing for all. As the aging homeless population increases, HomeAgain and other service providers are committed to helping our elderly clients receive shelter, sustainable housing, food security and health education. Providing access to these services allows them to have a sense of home, again, while also developing independence. Offering these services is an immense step forward in ending homelessness in the Greater Richmond Area, as a third of HomeAgain’s clients are over 50 years old. Currently, we are collaborating with local organizations such as St. Josephs Villa, Homeward, Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition and VCU Health through the East End Coalition for Older Adults. Through the support of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, we are collaborating to improve housing and health education for seniors. These collaborative efforts in our community result in strategic and meaningful work throughout Richmond. HomeAgain’s commitments to ending homelessness and increasing community awareness is critical to the future of our community.
1 Statistics provided by Dr. Margot Ackermann, Homeward 10.02.2018