'It's the fear that really gets you,' says homeless pensioner as figures increase

'It's the fear that really gets you,' says homeless pensioner as figures increase

New homeless figures show a sharp rise in the number of people over 65 living in emergency accommodation.

The number of homeless pensioners is up almost 64% since July 2016.

The latest figures show 136 people over the age of 65 were living in emergency accommodation in July.

It corresponds to a 44% increase in the overall number of adults who are homeless.

Annette Tobin was in her 60s when her husband died, but she could not afford the rent and became homeless.

She explained how the uncertainty about what to do was hard to live with.

Ms Tobin said: "So I was thinking if they put me in a hotel, where would it be? I didn't know where it would be and I'd be afraid.

"That's what it was, it was fear, it was really fear. I was talking to a friend of mine, Maggie, and she was the only one I was able to tell I was afraid.

"At 64 years of age, to be able to say to somebody 'I'm afraid, what can I do?'.

"That's what it is, it's the fear, the unknown that really gets you."

Niamh Randall from the Simon Community says many of the elderly homeless will have struggled with the issue for many years.

Niamh Randall.
Niamh Randall.

She said: "What we do know from our own research looking at older people who are homeless, those who are older and in homeless services had had repeated experience of homelessness over their life cycle.

"They had often had a lot of trauma, so there was sometimes a lot of abuse, maybe in childhood or early adulthood, experience of industrial schools, chronic mental health issues and also drug and alcohol issues as well."

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