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Introduction Although homelessness among the aging population has become a moreincreasing concern it yet remains an invisible subject of focus According to an annual report from the US Department of Housing andUrban Development in 2009 over 250000 older adults were housed inemergency or transitional housing programs Gonyes Mills-Dick Bachman2010 Gonyea 2010 Other research defined older adults as anyone who hadreached the age of 50 because homelessness places individuals at greaterrisk of illness and death and because we accept that the average lifeexpectancy is considerable lower among the homeless than among thatgeneral population 50 seems a reasonable cutoff Dietz Wright 2005 indicates that many women among todays elderly population never managedtheir household finances When their spouses die such women may fail topay their rent and utilities and thus become easy targets for financialexploitation In addition women experience a precipitous drop in incomeon the death of a spouse a widow can receive full social security benefits based on herhusbands earning or her own whichever is larger They cannot claimbenefit as both a widow and worker therefore income drops Housing Unemployment Persistent poverty makes the accumulation of funds first and lastmonth rent security deposit for a new rental an insurmountableobstacle Market-rate housing is simple not a viable option for theseseniors yet publicly-subsidized housing options remain scarce In manycommunities waiting lists for local housing authority apartments havebecome common for the elderly and younger adults with disabilities Forexample currently there are over 300000 unites of section 2025 seniorhousings nationally however for each unit that becomes available thereare an estimated 10 seniors waiting The US Department of Housing andUrban Development HUD rental assistance programs Housing ChoiceFormerly known as Section 8 Vouchers that allow lower-incomeindividuals to rent in the private market and apply for a subsidy totheir rent have long waiting list or are closed to new applicants In2004 age wait for Section 8 vouchers was 35 months For older adultssuch waits increase the risk of homelessness
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