In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in seniors ages 55+ experiencing homelessness—many for the first time. Homeless seniors face a unique set of challenges that can lead to homelessness:
- Limited Fixed Incomes: many seniors rely on fixed income like social security which doesn’t keep pace with rising housing costs. Without affordable housing, many are burdened by rent.
- Health Challenges: chronic health issues and disabilities can lead to increased medical expenses and reduced capacity to work, leading many to homelessness.
- Loneliness and Isolation: as spouses, family, and friends pass away or move away, seniors find themselves isolated and without a safety net and support system.
At The Kitchen, we’re intentional about providing the right services for each person. This means working with each person to identify barriers to safe housing and creating a plan for housing stability. Here are some of the ways we are working to end homelessness for seniors:
Expanding Affordable Housing
The Kitchen is a leader in creating affordable housing designed for low-income households. Our most recent project, Maplewood Villas, added 44 units of universally designed 2-bedroom apartments for seniors 55+. Maplewood Villas is designed to help seniors age in place. Maplewood Villas joins The Kitchen’s four other affordable housing developments, totaling 266 units serving families, individuals, youth, seniors, and Veterans. Affordable housing is a permanent solution to homelessness, and The Kitchen will continue to develop affordable housing as the need persists.
About Maplewood Villas: https://www.thekitcheninc.org/new-affordable-housing/
Connecting to Community Resources
The Kitchen provides on-site case management at each of our affordable housing properties—and additional case management to participants in our other programs. Case managers help individuals identify needs and make connections to community resources. These resources include healthcare, transportation, childcare, food resources, and emergency assistance programs. These resources build a safety net for seniors, allowing them to find support while maintaining their housing.
Strengthening Social Support Systems
Creating community for seniors can decrease feelings of isolation and reinforce connections with neighbors. Each affordable housing property hosts events to encourage friendship between neighbors and connect seniors living alone with others in their community. Whether it’s weekly bingo, a holiday potluck, or starting a neighborhood garden; growing these connections leads to happier and healthier residents who are better able to manage life’s challenges.