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Elderly population hit hard by rent increases

Posted at 11:04 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 12:21:40-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The rising cost of housing is hitting all ages and demographics, but one housing authority says it’s hitting the elderly community the hardest.

The executive director of the Delray Beach Housing Authority Shirley Erazo said a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their phones started ringing off the hook, primarily with elderly people on the other line begging for help.

One letter they received reads, "I'm 63 years old homeless male currently forced to live in my car, would like an appointment, if possible, to discuss options."

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Erazo said the conversations are difficult to have because the housing authority has used all of its resources.

"My elderly waitlist is over 1,000 people," Erazo said. "There's no one-bedroom units available at elderly complexes that provide affordable housing. They're 100% occupied."

Many in the elderly community depend on a set amount of money from their social security funds.

"By the time they call me they're living in their car," Erazo said.

This is a population who thought they finished their days of working.

"We have elderly looking for jobs," Erazo said. "It's scary that we’re going to see an increase in homelessness in our elderly population."

She's doing the only thing she can’t at this point—she’s calling on the community and landlords for change.

"There's needs to be control in how much landlords can charge," Erazo said.

Erazo said it could take four to five years to work through their current waitlist.