The face of homelessness is rapidly changing and is no longer reserved for chronic alcoholics or addicts. The number of adults over 55 living on streets countywide more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the annual census by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. Experts emphasize both the moral and overall costs to service this challenge is likely to increase with that upsurge.
When Marie and Gil came to ECTLC seeking emergency shelter, they were just one case of literally 1000s of senior citizens who share similar stories. Due to an uncertain economy and physical challenges that many seniors encounter, they often find themselves evolving into just another statistic without direction or hope for a secure future.
Marie, who had served as a nurse for most of her young adult life eventually, became unable to continue to function in her career because of debilitating arthritis, bursitis, and fibromyalgia. In 2012, these physical and mental challenges also lead to a complete nervous breakdown. At that same time, her husband who was laid off from his longtime career as a locksmith, suffered from a fall that resulted in a severe back injury. The combination of these unforeseeable maladies would eventually lead to daily seeking their basic survival needs and sleeping in their automobile each night.
Limited income and uncertainty are at the forefront for many of those who seek help at ECTLC but for senior citizens these challenges are magnified when severe health issues are added to the equation. Marie recalled, “It was like a nightmare. In a very short time we went from having a stable home to wondering where we would find a safe place to park our car for the evening. Our health health issues were exasperated by the stress and we were hanging on to a very thin thread of hope. Thank God we were directed to ECTLC.”
Marie and Gil were referred to the ECTLC Emergency Housing Program in 2015 and chose to seek case management services which are available to those who accept that assistance. They eventually enrolled in the Family Restoration Ministry where they were able to grow spiritually, form new friendships, and develop money management skills. After about 15 months of following through with their case managed plan, Marie and Gill were able to save money and successfully move into their new home on 9/30/2017. It was a bittersweet day for them as they said goodbye to their transitional home and friends to move to their new permanent home in Arizona.
“San Diego’s senior homelessness problem from the broader challenge is that San Diego County’s overall senior population is poised to boom. SANDAG, the regional planning agency, has predicted the number of San Diegans over 55 will rise 55 percent between 2012 and 2035.” http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/nonprofits/san-diegos-homeless-senior-population-has-more-than-doubled/
We are anticipating more senior citizens and those who are on a low fixed income to seek help at ECTLC in the near future. With that expectation we will need your help to accommodate them and their very special needs. Please consider helping us help them by pledging your financial support today. We thank you in advance and pray that you be blessed as you continue to seek ways to bless others.