Ending Homelessness Fund
Hundreds of senior citizens are languishing in emergency shelters or on the streets, a situation only exacerbated by COVID-19. Because of their age, health and risk profile, combined with income constraints and lack of extremely low-income housing, homelessness for seniors can be a death sentence – it almost was for Miriam.
Miriam Fajardo was homeless even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She lived on the streets for months after losing her job. She was part of a growing statistic: 1 in 4 persons experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County is over the age of 55. When she suffered health-related issues, she received care at a local hospital. Staff learned she was homeless and coordinated with the Homeless Trust’s network of partners and providers to ensure Miriam was discharged to housing.
The Homeless Trust provided housing and wrap-around services that enabled Miriam to regroup and imagine a brighter future for herself. She no longer feels lonely, and more importantly, she’s able to access the care and support she needs to stay off the streets. There are many stories just like Miriam’s across Miami-Dade County. Together, we can ensure more happy endings.
The Ending Homelessness Fund, supported by The Miami Foundation, aims to build a long-term, permanent solutions to effectively address senior homelessness and prevent people 55+ from slipping through the cracks.
Senior homelessness is a growing problem nationwide, but increased demand for resources brought on by the pandemic has stretched the Homeless Trust’s resources thin. Local restaurants are seeing fewer paying customers, and as a result, 1% Food & Beverage Tax revenues have dramatically decreased. These funds provide crucial funding for housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. A looming eviction crisis threatens to increase housing needs in the coming year as people, particularly very low-income seniors try to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Within this urgent need for housing, there is now an opportunity before us to acquire facilities that will provide long-term solutions for the growing number of senior citizens and other special needs individuals experiencing homelessness. Acquiring dedicated housing under the Continuum of Care umbrella versus renting units at market rate is the best option and provides the greatest value for our community. In developing dedicated facilities, we will add hundreds of housing units and be able to serve many more income-strained individuals each year.