Friendship Place is rapidly becoming a leading voice in the movement to support seniors who are experiencing or are at risk of becoming homeless. In 2017 we established our Aging in Place Workgroup (AIP) to better serve seniors in our community. In assisted living and long-term care facilities, help is often inaccessible for older individuals who have experienced prolonged homelessness and suffer from the mental health issues and disabilities that the experience may have caused. Through meaningful connections, knowledgeable staff, and quality care, AIP helps participants feel empowered to age within their homes throughout their lifespan. The Workgroup also aims to provide training and resources to Friendship Place staff, as well as promote growth at a systems level through data analysis and research initiatives.
AIP Workgroup is currently working toward two goals. First, the workgroup aims to establish a resource book as a tool for Friendship Place programs staff. We strive to ensure that participants receive quality service and easier access to critical resource needs. Second, the group intends to undertake more focused research initiatives dedicated to improving the effectiveness and quality of our services.
As D.C’s homeless population and our current participants age, Friendship Place is actively pursuing a deeper understanding of both the barriers that prevent seniors from aging safely within the home setting, and the funding needs associated with overcoming these barriers.
Friendship Place Spring Symposium: Growing Old Homeless
In 2015, Friendship Place hosted a symposium about the local and national challenges of homelessness among senior. “Growing Old Homeless” included several of the nation’s leading voices and authorities on the topic, including Ray Suarez, former host of Al Jazeera America’s Inside Story and the following panelists:
- Liz Osborn, External Affairs Manager, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Kristy Greenwalt, Executive Director, DC Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Nathaniel E. Aquino, Staff Attorney, AARP Legal Counsel for the
- Elderly Thomas Byrne, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Policy, Boston University
- Harold Sims, Former Program Participant and Current Board Member Friendship Place
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