Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

According to the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, there are 12,698 older adults (aged 55 and older) experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care. This older adult age group makes up over a quarter of the total homeless population in Los Angeles County. Research has found that, nationally, the share of homeless adults that are 55 and older is increasing and projected to continue growing, suggesting a “cohort effect” where homeless baby boomers are getting older and shifting the age distribution of the single adult homeless population. This shift will increasingly strain homeless services and healthcare providers since older adults experiencing homelessness face a higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes than housed older adults and younger people experiencing homelessness. This literature review explores research on the characteristics and unique needs of older adults experiencing homelessness and highlights potential interventions and strategies for addressing those needs, including permanent supportive housing.