Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Elderly female population becoming a larger part of the homeless demographic

While the Monterey City Council on Tuesday finally determined that one of the city's parking lots would make an appropriate location for the One Starfish safe parking program, one resident who has worked with the homeless women who will benefit from such a program also made a salient point during the meeting's public comment period.

“Thank you, council members and mayor, for putting time and attention and real effort into this,” said Linda Frederiksen, a volunteer at The Gathering Place, a refuge in Monterey for unsheltered women. “Having worked in The Gathering Place and having met hundreds of homeless women I just wanted to represent them and say 'Thank you.'”

Frederiksen went on to emphasize that these women do not meet the all too often stereotype of homeless people having problems with drugs and mental illness. Instead she pointed to the increasing population of elderly women living at the poverty level and lower in the city and surrounding area.

“Twenty-five percent of homeless women in this community are 65 years and older,” Frederiksen continued. “These are not transient women who all of a sudden are here. They have paid their taxes and have raised children here.”

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