Older adults are at the center of California’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis. Many older Californians living on low, fixed incomes are being forced to choose between paying rent, eating, or buying medications. As a result, older adults represent the fastest growing age group of the homeless population in California. The primary drivers of the surge in older adult homelessness in California are unsustainable rent burdens and an inadequate supply of affordable, accessible, and stable housing.
This Justice in Aging fact sheet, California’s Older Low-Income Renters Fact Unaffordable Rents, Driving Housing Instability and Homelessness, describes how the rental affordability crisis in California disproportionately impacts older adults, particularly Black older adults who, because of lifelong discrimination and inequities, represent 31% of individuals accessing homeless services, despite making up only 5.6% of the state’s population.
According to a May 2021 survey, there were nearly 92,000 Californians over 65 who were not caught up on rent. California’s Master Plan for Aging calls for Housing for All Stages & Ages. We need to make significant investments in deeply affordable and accessible housing to ensure that all older Californians can age in their homes and communities.