Seniors to Benefit from New Homeless Village in Goshen
Last updated 3/5/2022 at 2:47pm | View PDF
By spring of next year, the state of California is expected to have its first ever master-planned community that will provide dignified homes, jobs and services for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
That community will be in Tulare County.
Groundbreaking is scheduled in early August for the Neighborhood Village, a community on West Riggin in Goshen that will have 49 residences for the homeless, each equipped with kitchen and bathroom amenities.
The community will feature a coffee shop and marketplace, chapel, picnic area, library, social hall, organic garden and parks, and provide job opportunities to its residents – such as maintenance and gardening – as well as opportunities to create and sell their arts and crafts.
Neighborhood Village will also offer mental and physical health services, coordination of benefits and case management, wellness and financial literacy classes, and Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
When the Neighborhood Village opens next year, many of its residents are expected to be seniors. The homeless population is rapidly aging. According to the Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance's A Point in Time report, the number of seniors (those 55+) who were homeless in 2021 was 213. Six years ago, it was 85.
Currently, one out of every four individuals who are homeless are 55 or older, and the number of homeless seniors is expected to increase, partly due to the high costs of housing and health care.
Those who are most vulnerable will be the first provided with new residences, according to Adrianne Hillman, founder and CEO of Salt + Light Works, the organization behind the Neighborhood Village. "Most vulnerable and seniors tend to fall into this category," she said.
"Older adults who are homeless face unique challenges and often require special support," said Hillman. "People experiencing homelessness age more rapidly than others who are housed, and older adults with extensive histories of homelessness typically present as much older than their biological age reflects. They may be more challenged with activities of daily living, with poor eyesight, balance and hearing challenges.
"Older adults are also more likely to suffer from cognitive impairments and are more likely to present with depression," she added. "They may require more medical interventions, compared to the general population of people experiencing homelessness."
Despite the special accommodations for seniors, such as ADA ramps to make mobility easier, Hillman noted that residents of Neighborhood Village "have to be able to live independently."
For more information, visit http://www.saltandlightworks.org.