Growing Number Of Older Women Living Near Or In Poverty

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 9:40am
Updated: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 2:50pm

A new report found 16 percent of all women 65 and over live at or below the poverty line.

There are several likely factors that contribute to this: Women often earn less than men, they’re more likely to leave the workforce to care for children or aging parents and one in three have experienced some form of domestic violence, according to the report from non-profit group, Justice in Aging.

"Women are more exposed to being homeless, and not being able to get subsidized senior housing because they don’t have the right level of Supplemental Security Income," said Barbara Lewkowitz, a faculty associate at Arizona State University.

Although Supplemental Security Income is meant to act as a lifeline, it often can't cover housing costs.

Oly Cowles, with The Justa Center in Central Phoenix, said the wait to get into Section 8 HUD housing can be over a year.

"I think the city, state and county are relying very heavily on nonprofits to pick up that burden and we’re over capacity and we can’t continue to do that without more assistance," Cowles said.

The report also found that women of color, LGBT women and singe women often struggle with poverty at higher rates.

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