Seniors Fear Homelessness and Isolation Amidst Evictions
There seems to be a growing number of elderly people that are facing the threat of displacement and homelessness. There is fewer rent control housing available for elderly people and rent prices are higher than many of their Social Security benefits. Many elderly people rely on Social Security benefits as their sole means of support, so the prospect of having to find a new home can be taxing on them both mentally and physically. According to experts, these are the people that are most vulnerable to California’s rising rents and evictions of any age group. Luis Contreras, a 63 year old man who is facing eviction and looking for a new home after the rent-controlled building he and his family was living in was sold, told the Los Angeles Times the following,
I’m afraid to leave the apartment unoccupied, because they could come and change the locks.
Luckily for Contreras, Los Angeles city rules allow him and his family up to a year to move since he is at least 62 years old. Unfortunately, Contreras is not the only elderly person experiencing the same issue. According to the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, households with at least one person 62 or older made up 26 percent of no-fault evictions in Los Angeles city rent-controlled buildings between June 2014 and May 2019. The Public Policy Institute of California predicts the number of Californians age 65 and older will increase by over 4 million by 2030, which is almost double what it was in 2012. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, in 2016, renters ages 65 to 79 spent 35 percent of their income on housing, while renters 80 or older spent 42 percent.
According to the latest count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the tally of homeless people 62 and older in the greater Los Angeles area increased to 5,231, which increased from last year’s tally of 5,000. Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1482, which enacts rent control in California. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020 and it will limit rent increases every year in the state to 5 percent, plus the local rate of inflation. We will have to wait and see how this will affect residents and if it will help elderly people.