Aging, homelessness and the law.
Virtually all developed nations make provisions to provide economic support to their aging citizens. Because of this, there has been a widespread assumption that homelessness among aging individuals is rare. Indeed, aging homeless persons are invisible — rarely mentioned in academic texts or the public media except, perhaps, in occasional references to old skid row drunks or shopping bag ladies (Cohen 1999). Nevertheless, if we define “old” among homeless persons as age 50 and over — using age 50 as a cut off because homeless persons work and act like persons who are 10 to 20 years older in the general community (Cohen and Sokolovsky 1989; Gelberg, Linn, and Mayer-Oakes 1990) — it is estimated that about 20% of homeless persons in the United States are 50 and over; and studies in London estimate that about one third of homeless persons are age 50 or over (Cohen and Crane 1996). Moreover, with an anticipated doubling of this age group in the general population over the next 30 years, there will be many more older persons at-risk for homelessness.
Cohen, C.I., Sokolovsky, J. & Crane, M. (2001). Aging, homelessness and the law. In D.N. Weisstub, D.C. Thomasma, S. Gauthier & G. F. Tomossy, (Eds.). Aging: Caring for Our Elders, (pp: 219-235). Springer, Dordrecht. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-0675-9
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