As I travel the country talking with baby boomers about what they plan to do once they stop working, I am struck by a disturbing and increasing sight – older men and women who are homeless. Many of them are tail end boomers (born between 1960 and 1964). Some are older than that.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless website “Studies across the U.S. have shown a clear upward trend in the proportion of ‘older’ persons’ (aged 50-64) among the homeless population. This is a group which frequently falls between the cracks of governmental safety nets. They are not old enough to qualify for Medicare, however, when their physical health is assaulted by poor nutrition and severe living conditions they may eventually resemble someone much older.” http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/elderly/
Homelessness is a complex issue with many causes. But I believe more boomers are poised to become homeless as they age. One in three boomers has nothing saved for retirement and should they have a catastrophic illness or accident, homelessness may be inevitable. Boomers who have not yet turned 65 are most at risk because they do not qualify for assistance because of their age.
Solving this problem will not be easy. The sooner boomers address their financial instability, the better their chance of finding a solution. Knowing what resources are available should you ever need assistance and how to access them should be something every boomer knows.
Maine State Housing (http://www.mainehousing.org/programs-services) offers the following programs:
Home buyer programs
Home Improvement and Repair Assistance
Energy & Heating Assistance
Everyone should have a roof over their head, especially when you are old.