The Need for Justa Center
Justa Center is one of the nation’s only day-resource centers exclusively for homeless seniors (age 55+) focused on providing services that help the seniors on their path to home. Justa Center founder, Scott Richey in 2011 shares the Justa Center story.
The Need is Greater than Ever
Seniors entering into homeless is a growing world-wide crisis. In the United States, ten thousand (10,000) baby boomers turn 65 every day. In Canada, the city of Toronto has recently found that 62% of seniors reported difficulty in paying their rent. In the UK, the number of homeless seniors increased by 100% over a seven-year period. In the US, the number of homeless seniors is expected to increase annually until it peaks in 2050.
The need for the support and services Justa Center provides is increasing every day.
The Cost of Housing
A number of significant barriers stand between a senior and housing; the path to home is challenging for all, but for some…impossible.
- Government funding cannot meet the growing need. Public Housing (Housing Authority Owned) and Subsidized Housing (offset by governmental subsidies) are often stretched beyond the demand.
- Lack of subsidized housing. Even if the monies were available, the number of landlords who have empty units and will accept subsidies are less than demand.
- Lack of affordable housing – and not just for seniors. Most tenants must qualify for a landlord’s three-times income to rent requirement. Average 1-bedroom apartment in the Valley is over $1,000/month. On 5% of the rental units in the Valley are under $701/month.
- If qualified, the current length of time to find appropriate, affordable housing, be qualified and accepted, and save up for application fees and deposits is currently ranging from 160 to 400 days.
The Cost of the Wait
The one thing all seniors in homelessness experience is the wait to get housing and the toll it is taking on their lives. The longer the wait the greater the opportunity for increased exposure to victimization, health risk increase, health decline, injury, lack of nutrition, and ultimately, making survival choices they don’t want to make.