For a second straight year, HumanGood affordable housing hosted Bay Area and Northern California-based policy makers and homeless advocates for its symposium addressing the challenges of delivering affordable housing and services that meet the needs of low-income older adults.
The symposium, “Homeward Bound II: Seeking Solutions to Elder Homelessness,” was borne out of HumanGood’s ongoing mission to meet the growing demands and needs for housing and supportive services among low-income older adults. The demand for housing outstrips the current supply, and the supportive services provided are limited as health care needs for older adults continue to evolve.
“It was an honor to organize and sponsor this conference as HumanGood continues its leadership role in seeking solutions to end elder homelessness,” Ancel Romero, president of HumanGood affordable housing. In 2018, HumanGood affordable housing held its first symposium in Glendale.
This year’s event was hosted at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland. Dr. Joshua Bamberger, associate director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at the University of California San Francisco, kicked off the symposium with an in-depth look at the current state of homelessness among seniors in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California.
Dr. Bamberger said that about half of the adult population over age 50 who were homeless in Alameda County had never experienced homelessness until they reached that age range; in Sacramento County, one in five homeless people are 55 and older; and in the Bay Area, the average age of homeless adults in has shifted higher. Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, also discussed pending legislation aimed at addressing the homeless crisis.
Other guests included: Ky Le, director of the office of supportive housing, County of Santa Clara; Meghan Rose, general counsel and director of housing policy at LeadingAge California; and Eric Johnson, executive director of Oakland Housing Authority, as well as other leading experts and policy makers.
“We were amazed by the level of prominence, brain power and engagement in the room,” said Romero. “Much of what we learned from each other will factor into strategic plans of several organizations represented at the conference. No one entity can do it all.”
The group tackled an array of discussion topics around the issues of homelessness among low-income seniors. That included discussing what potential opportunities and collaborations can be created to better serve homeless older adults who’re dealing with chronic illnesses. The group also discussed ways to shift policies related to housing and homelessness to support those older adults experiencing homelessness for the first time and for older adults who’ve been living on the street for a long time.
HumanGood affordable housing offers affordable, rent-controlled housing designed to serve more than 7,000 low-income older adults who meet the qualification guidelines. Our 95 affordable housing communities are located in California, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington State.