Elders/Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

This resource provides facts about the experience of homelessness as an elder.

Elders/Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

HUD’s 2010 AHAR points to an estimate of the number of elderly people among sheltered individuals:

  • 4.2% of sheltered individuals and 2.8% of the total sheltered homeless population are ages 62 or older in 2010, as compared with 10.3% of individuals living in poverty in 2009.

Data from the 1996 NSHAPC showed that 8% of all homeless clients were age 55 years or olderi.

According to the Homeless Older Adults Strategic Plan for Los Angelesii:

  • On any given night, there are 3,000 to 4,000 homeless older adults, 62 years or older, in Los Angeles County

Age, Gender, Race/Ethnicity

A study of 378 older homeless adults in Minnesota showed that:

  • 81% were male
  • 19% were female
  • 51% were persons of color

The Homeless Older Adults Strategic Plan for Los Angeles reports that of the homeless older adults in Los Angeles Countyiii:

  • 57% are Black
  • 14-15% are Latino

Serious Mental Illness, Substance Use, & Health

A study of older homeless adults in Los Angeles County found thativ:

  • 62% of older adults reported a disability of some sort
  • 89% of reported disabilities were physical

A study of reported health conditions amongst homeless older adults in Los Angeles County showed that these adults had a variety of health problemsv:

  • 60% dental problems
  • 50% eye problems
  • 50% hypertension
  • 50% arthritis
  • 40% back problems and/or pain
  • 30% diabetes
  • 30% heart problems
  • 20% depression
  • 20% stroke

Among older adults in the Minnesota studyvi:

  • 49% reported a serious mental illness
  • 31% reported a substance use problem
  • 6% reported having a co-occurring mental illness and substance use condition

View the HRC's additional factsheets:


Publication Date: 
Rockville, MD, USA