Senior citizens who've done 'everything right' are facing homelessness for the first time | KNKX

Senior citizens who've done 'everything right' are facing homelessness for the first time

Sep 14, 2019

 


Being able to afford housing in the Seattle area is an ongoing problem for many people. A new group of individuals is starting to come onto the radar of social workers: senior citizens.

 

Denise Malm at the Wallingford Senior Center in North Seattle, like many social workers, has noticed an increase in the number of seniors she is trying to help find stable housing.

 

“The story is, 'My rent is going up so much money. I have an income of $900 and I need low-income housing tomorrow,'" Malm said. "It’s just not going to happen.”

 

One of Malm’s clients is Terry Parkhurst. He’s 69 years old. He has health problems that doctors suspect might be Parkinson's.

 

Parkhurst has been living in the same apartmentment in Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood for the past 13 years. Over that time, the rent has steadily increased to the point where Parkhurst has to dip into his limited savings each month to help pay the rent.

 

“I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say I’m somewhat anxious and living with fear," Parkhurst said. "When I write that rent check every month I’m just amazed I’m writing a check for that amount of money.”

 

In this story, we’ll learn how Malm is trying to help clients like Parkhurst navigate the complicated maze of social services where waitlists for affordable senior housing can be years, and the best option for housing is sometimes a car parked on a quiet street.