Merced County Times Newspaper
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Bills target rise in homelessness among aging Californians

State Senator Anna M. Caballero (D-Merced) has introduced a series of bills to address the rise in homelessness among California’s senior aging population.

“California seniors are at great risk because of the rapid rise of the costs of housing,” Caballero said. “Most have worked their entire lives; find it difficult to manage a budget on a limited income. Seniors are estimated to be the fastest-growing group in our nation experiencing homelessness and shelters become de facto nursing homes without the special services that seniors need. This is unconscionable and needs to be a priority in the state of California.”

 

  • SB 17 will revise the requirements of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to ensure that a minimum percentage of the credits allocated are for senior housing projects using census demographic data.
    “The staggering and growing number of older adults experiencing homelessness is a direct reflection of California’s lack of affordable senior housing options,” said Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO of LeadingAge California. “We thank Senator Caballero for her leadership in this space. Senate Bill 17 will ensure that senior housing production increases in-step with the growing size of our older adult population.”

 

  • SB 37 creates a rent subsidy program for low-income older adults and adults with disabilities who are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
    “Homelessness among older Californians is increasing dramatically right now, and for many people over the age of 55, they are experiencing homelessness for the first time,” said Kevin Prindiville of Justice in Aging. “Decades of unfair housing policies and discrimination puts Black older adults at much greater risk of becoming homeless than white older adults. We should not wait for our seniors to become homeless to help them. Providing rental assistance is a proven, cost-effective and more humane way to prevent homelessness.”

 

  • SB 657 will require the Interagency Council on Homelessness and regional Continuums of Care (COC’s) to create and provide geriatric training to their homeless service staff.
    “Older adults are experiencing homelessness in greater numbers, many for the first time,” said State Assembly member Susan Mallet. “Homeless shelter and prevention services staff are an important component of the success of addressing California’s homeless crisis, yet the majority of the supportive staff are not trained in the issues and concerns of older adults. Staff training on older adult issues, how to access an individual’s independence to manage daily living activities, and knowledge of regional services and resources is needed to better assist a more vulnerable population experiencing homelessness. Such training can be provided by regional collaboration between the Area Agencies on Aging, local experts on older adults, and the Continuum of Cares, tasked to direct regional efforts to prevent and end homelessness in California.”
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