Homelessness surging among elder Arizonans

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 2:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “When you’re in a stairwell or on a bus bench, you don’t wake up and say ‘I want a cup of coffee let me flip on my light,’” said Jean Fadigan, Owner and CEO of Sister Jose Women’s Center. “What you say is ‘how do I survive today?

Fadigan says they’re seeing more and more elderly women who are newly homeless.

“They come to us and they’re scared. I took in one last week who’s in a wheelchair,” said Fadigan. “We work with the women to figure out what in the world to do.”

According to the Center For Elder Independence, researchers found that half of all homeless adults are 50 or older compared to just 11% almost 30 years ago.

“Many times they will come and say I have not been homeless before, my rent went up I cant afford it, I don’t know what to do,” said Fadigan.

Fadigan says there’s one big thing to blame for the trend.

“Housing, housing, housing,” said Fadigan. “Everyone will say to you ‘we’ve got that’ or ‘were working on it’ but its not fast enough, it’s not today.”

She sees this firsthand, and says the issue needs to be addressed immediately. Especially because of just how vulnerable older women are.

“It is not uncommon for her things to be stolen,” she said.

She’s now calling on the community to get together to think of alternatives in hopes of preventing more senior citizens from ending up on the streets.

“I believe in the city we live in,” she said.

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