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New plan could provide aid to homeless senior citizens

An increasingly vulnerable population

OW Staff Writer | 4/23/2020, midnight

“His expertise would be extremely helpful,” Ansell said. “I can assure you that engaging professor Culhane will expedite our ability to respond.”

Hahn said she wasn’t convinced.

“I don’t know who made this decision, if it was an RFP, whose money is paying for this,” Hahn said. “This is new for me, I don’t know how we make these decisions in hiring more consultants.”

Everyone seemed to agree that finding permanent housing for seniors is important work.

“A society’s greatness can be measured by how well it treats the young and the old,” said Arthur Ross, a street outreach case manager with the homeless services provider HOPICS. “With a sustainable plan, homeless seniors have an opportunity to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The public health crisis has had an outsize impact on older residents and advocates argued that the goal should be to eliminate homelessness among the over-65 population.

“Older adults have had to dip into their retirement savings to address high housing costs, home and car maintenance, family matters and medical needs,” said Sandi Hamilton, director of the Willowbrook Senior Center and Empowerment Congress Senior Services Committee. “This public health crisis will further send many senior citizens into poverty and homelessness. Plans to address homelessness must continue as, indeed, housing is a human right for all individuals.”

The board asked the CEO to develop an initial plan in 30 days and a framework for implementation within 45 days.