Teri Petersen never thought she’d end up living on the street.
The petite 65-year-old worked for years. She’s a former PTA president.
Yet there she was on a rainy day this September, confronting a reality she’d never imagined for the second time in a few years.
This time, a case manager told her she might be forced to wait up to three months to get into temporary housing. Fear set in.
“It was like, ‘Oh God, what else could go wrong?’” Petersen recalled.
Petersen spent days and nights on public transit, pulling a hooded sweatshirt over her face to sleep. She downloaded Netflix shows at a coffee shop to watch on the road and visited a friend’s East County home twice a week to shower.
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Senior homelessness, senior care, and seniors needing special facilities for advanced mental and physical issues was anticipated, at least, 30 years ago.
It's difficult to surmise who exactly has been at fault for dragging their feet on this issue, but I highly suspect the "alt-right"/libertarian people who believe that taking care of our senior population is solely a family problem or, at best, only a states rights issue. Young people have always had a very brief period of productivity in which to enjoy life and save for their retirement. But, life in the U.S.A. has never, really, been all that easy. But, since WWII we have been the world's keeper and we have done just a so-so job for the people that pay for our defense of the world and the protecting of business and industrial interests not directly related to our domestic affairs. The people who have sacrificed their lives for the good ole U.S.A. deserve their final days in happiness. The monthly cost of senior care for one person in the U.S.A. in a "home" begins at $4k nationally. That is not an expense that is covered by any governmental body. That is the equivalent of one member of the family needing the additional paycheck of someone else with no additional income.
....bottom line? We have been on the slippery slope of deciding not to take care of ourselves for the last 35 years.
One of the best and cost effective alternatives for aging parents is a board and care. The setting is that of a home rather than an institution.
Many of the county aging/housing are under this private/public model.
These are homes that have 3-6 residents. costs range from a couple thousand a month up to $5,500 a month. These homes have 24 hr staff and all meals are provided.
Seems this model could be used for the senior homeless and the cost could be lowered with out the 24 hr care aspect.
if the average figure of $8,500 per homeless is accurate then it seems like a private/public partnership could expand this housing venue, in a cost effective manner, to accommidate the seniors that are homeless.
Lisa. Seems the senior group of homeless should be the easiest of groups to help. there are resources
Have you spoken with the county agency
Aging and Independence Services?
@Mark Giffin All of the resources provided from that website are for elderly folks already living in a home. Only one of them accepts Medical. Meaning, all the services cost money. Once a person is homeless it's difficult for them to navigate through all the programs that are available. Being homeless becomes a full time job. What you and I see as simple tasks, become monumental issues for people experiencing homelessness. I love how this article details the mindset of Teri Petersen. She would make it a task to shower.. something that is so simple. So automatic for you and I. But for her.. it became a strategic errand that she would plan her entire life around so that she wouldn't look homeless.
This is only going to get worse. Ask the homeless seniors what companies they worked for before becoming unemployed? Corporations all over the country have either frozen or done away with their employees pension plan trust funds, so more and more people are growing old with nothing except social security to help them cope. Recent estimates indicate that more than 40% of the workforce now have no pensions and no retirement savings. That means that millions of seniors who lose their jobs or retire and going to need help from taxpayers to avoid becoming homeless like those you write about. You should do an article listing all the San Diego companies who have either frozen or eliminated their employee pension plans, to identify one of the root causes of what we're seeing today. For example, in 2003 SDG&E froze its employees defined benefit plans. It offered a new "cash balance" plan in its place, promising that over time, employees would do as well or better than they did under the DB pension plan. This week, 200 SDG&E employees retired, most of them taking their benefits from their frozen DB plans, since the cash balance plans never provided more benefits than the frozen DB plans do. Because the DB plan was frozen, SDG&E employees lost millions of dollars in pension benefits they were promised when they went to work for the company. Current accounting rules allowed SDG&E executives to count the long term pension benefits lost by employees as profits in the year the plan was frozen, boosting their own salaries, bonuses and benefits. There are more stories like this over all the major companies in San Diego County. VOSD should shine a spotlight on them.