San Diego, California — Maria Negrete, her daughter and her granddaughter live in their car in San Diego after they lost their jobs and got evicted from their apartment.
“It’s hard because as much as we try, we feel that the system pushes you to the position that we are,” the 65-year-old told CBS News.
Negrete said she does not see how she and her family will get back on their feet.
“I don’t see any way, especially with everything so expensive, like gas, the rents, everything,” she said. “And that’s heartbreaking for me.”
Negrete is a member of one of the fastest growing groups now facing homelessness: baby boomers. Like her, many worked low-paying jobs and had no savings to fall back on when times got tough.
The number of homeless people over 55 is expected to spike to 225,000 nationwide in the next four years — a 32% jump from 170,000 in 2017 — according to a University of Pennsylvania study.
“We hear the same story over and over again. ‘I’ve lived in this place 10, 15 years. And now I have to move because they’ve increased the rent above what I even earn for a given month,'” said Teresa Smith. Smith started Dreams for Change, an organization that helps homeless people by providing jobs and safe parking for those with cars.
Nearly half of Smith’s clients are baby boomers. The crisis grew during the pandemic and has been intensified by record inflation and housing costs.
In San Diego, the average two-bedroom apartment is more than $3,700 a month, up 21% from last year, according to rent.com.
“My biggest concern is that as much as we try, we might be stuck being in the car for a long time,” Negrete said.