Growing number of seniors, particularly women, among Victoria’s homeless

CHEK

Among the people living on Pandora Avenue is a growing subset of senior citizens, particularly women, who are homeless like Andrea Robinson.

“It’s horrible. You just wake up in tears every morning,” she told CHEK News on Thursday.

Seven years ago, Robinson found herself homeless after leaving an abusive spouse.

She didn’t want to go on camera, but she says living on the street is taking a toll.

“I stayed awake basically all night last night. You find yourself in a corner sometimes. Sometimes you just find yourself lying in the cement, wondering how you got there,” Robinson said.

See Spring Coalition‘s Amy Allard spends her days keeping track of the unhoused, and filling out paperwork in the hopes she can find them housing.

She knows of two dozen woman in Robinson’s situation.

“They are out on the streets, cold and afraid with wounds and untreated mental illness – blocks from the legislature, and city hall,” Allard said.

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CHEK’s Mary Griffin (left) speaks with See Spring Coalition’s Amy Allard (right).

On Thursday, the lunch hour at Our Place was busy.

The crowd included a growing number of seniors who otherwise might not eat for the day, according to Jordan Cooper, director of services for Our Place Society.

“More seniors are unhoused, but we also see seniors that their housing isn’t super secure, and they are coming in for meals,” Cooper said. “They are often using their whole income just to be housed and need support in other ways.”

Quadra Village Community Centre’s Housing Outreach Program operates on a shoestring budget.

Kelly Greenwell, executive director of the centre, said the program does its best to help people before they become unhoused.

From the moment its doors opened in November 2021, it’s been over capacity with people in need.

“It was just massive, and we knew it would be, because we had lots of stories even from folks volunteering here at the centre that they were about to lose their housing,” Greenwell said.

All agree that more housing is necessary for vulnerable communities, seniors among them, and that it’s a problem not going away anytime soon.

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