National data about the prevalence of homelessness among older adults, including by race, gender, and other demographic characteristics, are needed to sound the alarm and galvanize a national response to ending older adult homelessness. Each year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) takes a Point-in-Time (PIT) Count to gauge how many people are experiencing homelessness on a single night and shares this information with the U.S. Congress. The Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) is used to not only track progress on preventing and ending homelessness, but it is also used to inform federal, state, and local policies around homelessness.  

Why Collecting and Reporting Data on Older Adults Matters

Research tells us that older adults’ experience of homelessness is different from their younger counterparts in various ways, such as their demographics, pathways into homelessness and healthcare needs. These differences point to a need to gain more detailed information to further understand the prevalence of – and garner a profile of – homelessness among older adults. Additionally, the continuing economic fallout from the pandemic, rising costs of rent, groceries, along with an aging society, tells us that older adults’ experience of homelessness and their unique needs must be included within a national strategy to prevent and end homelessness. For example, every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65, and the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades and represent over 20 percent of the population by 2050. As the population ages, and we consider current economic factors, even more older adults are moving into poverty and homelessness.

Read the full article about older adult homelessness by Yolanda Stevens at National Alliance to End Homelessness.