Getting baby boomers off the streets: Helping homeless seniors survive
ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Loss of a spouse, loss of a house, loss of a job for thousands of baby boomers their golden years are not what they expected. In fact, we’re seeing a spike in the number of people over 65 who are homeless.
Even more shocking, a University of Pennsylvania study found senior homelessness will nearly triple from 40 thousand to 106 thousand in the next ten years. Advocates say much more low-income housing is needed. That’s why one woman is leading the way to help the elderly in her community.
“I do recall sleeping one night behind a dumpster.” Said Linda Flores.
Linda lost her housekeeping job and her home after being hit by a semi.
“I lost everything.” Explained Flores
Richard was an operations manager for 25 years until severe depression consumed him. He said, “I was addicted. I was depressed. I was stressed out.”
Suzanna Clark’s husband died and then she recalls, “I had a heart attack and a slight stroke”
Left with no place to go and no one to care for them—until they met Isha Desselle, Founder & President Turning Point Center. She recalls, “I knew i wanted to help elderly because they are the one who’ve built this country. They are the one who took care of us.”
34 years ago, Isha decided to change her life. She comments, “I sold my home and everything that I had, put a down payment on this rundown apartment complex.”
This 34-unit complex became the Turning Point Center. Seniors share an apartment, get healthy meals, free clothing, counseling, continuing education, job training, and help with getting ID cards like social security. Richard runs the kitchen and pantry. He states, “It’s huge that you find something that helps you be productive. Everybody has a job.”
Steve grows fresh veggies for the residents, and Dan Tolleson oversees transportation. Dan says, “I drive and pick up and deliver donations.”
Isha says, “We look for people who want to change their life. Not a person who want to just come and just sit here.”
Seniors can stay days or even years, the goal is to let our elders know that someone cares for them.
“I wanted my life to have meaning that I did something. But the truth is the people, the residents who live here, they’re honestly the one who make this happen.” Stated Isha.
The Turning Point Center is a non-profit. It costs about 250 thousand dollars a year to run. They get most of its money through grants and donations. Experts believe more places like this will be needed soon. Especially since the latest information from the census shows that younger baby boomers, now in their 50′s and 60′s, don’t have pensions or 401-k accounts and about half of both women and men ages 55 to 66 have no retirement savings.
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