Homelessness Among Older People Is on the Rise, Driven by Inflation and the Housing Crunch

Yves here. This report on desperation among older people is both sad and infuriating. Anglo cultures promote nuclear families, which makes them a poor safety net. Neoliberalism has gutted social services, weakened community ties, increased housing costs, and shortened job tenures. It doesn’t take much in the way of work interruptions to wipe out savings.

It is a disgrace that a supposedly affluent society kicks the elderly to the curb. And more budget cuts are in the cards, with the need to combat inflation as the pretext.

By Aaron Bolton. Originally published as part of a partnership that includes Montana Public RadioNPR, and  Kaiser Health News

After moving out of his Columbia Falls, Montana, home, which he can no longer afford, Kim Hilton plans to live in his truck with his dog, Amora, while he waits for a spot at an assisted living facility to open up. (AARON BOLTON / MONTANA PUBLIC RADIO)

On a recent rainy afternoon in this small town just outside Glacier National Park, Lisa Beaty and Kim Hilton were preparing to sell most of their belongings before moving out of their three-bedroom, two-bathroom rental home.

Hilton, who was recovering from a broken leg, watched from his recliner as friends and family sorted through old hunting gear, jewelry, furniture, and clothes. “The only thing that’s not for sale is the house — everything else has to go,” Hilton, 68, said as he checked his blood sugar.

Hilton has Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues that have left him disabled and unable to work for years. For income, he relies on federal disability benefits. Because of a shoulder injury and fibromyalgia, 64-year-old Beaty — Hilton’s partner of seven years — does, too. Combined, their income is roughly $1,500 a month.

That’s no longer enough, though. Investors bought their house this year and raised the rent from $1,000, including utilities, to $1,800, plus the cost of utilities.

“They’re not evicting me — on a fixed income, I can’t do it,” Beaty said as she sorted through her belongings.

They have nowhere else to go. And they were not just losing their home: The stress of the ordeal caused them to end their relationship. Beaty planned to move into her daughter’s one-bedroom apartment.

Despite his poor health and still relying on leg braces to prevent another broken leg, Hilton, who is on Medicare, planned to live out of his truck while he waited for a spot to open up at one of the few assisted living facilities in Flathead County, which is mostly rural. The wait could last days, or months.

Beaty and Hilton are part of a recent surge of homelessness among people older than 60. The housing affordability crisis, driven in part by the covid-19 pandemic, and high inflation are chipping away at their fixed incomes. Although data is limited, advocates for seniors and people who are homeless say greater numbers of adults are showing up at shelters across the country.

Kim Hilton, who has Type 2 diabetes, checks his blood sugar. A recent increase in his rent is forcing Hilton, who lives on a fixed income, to move out of the three-bedroom rental home in Columbia Falls, Montana, that he shared with his partner, Lisa Beaty.(AARON BOLTON / MONTANA PUBLIC RADIO)

The problem is particularly acute in Montana, where the snow has started to fly as the long Rocky Mountain winter sets in.

Rents in Montana have skyrocketed since the pandemic started. Since 2019, Lewis and Clark County, for example, has seen rental costs jump 37%, one of the largest spikes in the U.S., according to data from the research firm CoStar Group published by The Washington Post. Nationally, rents rose 11% on average in 2021.

The fast-paced growth in Montana and elsewhere in the Mountain West has been driven in part by an influx of highly paid remote workers, drawn to wide-open spaces and abundant recreation opportunities in communities that were plagued by housing shortages even before the pandemic. Kalispell, the largest city in Flathead County, is the fastest-growing city among those in the U.S. with fewer than 50,000 people, according to Census Bureau data.

Inflation and rising rents are leaving many older Americans on the brink of ruin. The poverty rate for people 65 and older rose from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021, according to Ramsey Alwin, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging.

Alwin said people who rely on traditional retirement income, such as Social Security, are having trouble affording the basic necessities. “You’ll find that individuals are often coming up short by about $1,000 a month in order to meet their true needs,” she said.

As a result, many older people must make hard choices about whether to pay for daily needs such as food and medication or rent. Others simply can’t stretch their money and must leave their homes. An upcoming 8.7% cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits will help offset the effects of inflation, which was 8.2% for the 12 months that ended in September. But Alwin said that won’t be enough to stem the tide of seniors who are losing housing because of rising rental prices.

Montana is home to one of the oldest populations in the country. According to a recent survey of older adults in the state, about 44% struggled with housing during the previous year, and only 10% considered housing affordable.

Emergency homeless shelters in Montana, and across the country, are reporting that more seniors have been showing up at their doors over the past year, many of whom could no longer make rent or couldn’t find a new place to live after their homes were sold out from under them, said Steve Berg, vice president for programs and policy at the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Berg said it’s impossible to say how many seniors are winding up homeless for the first time because national homeless counts don’t break down the number of people 25 and older into smaller age groups and other data isn’t granular enough to differentiate people losing housing for the first time from older people who are chronically homeless.

Community organizers working directly with homeless people have a deep understanding of how the trend is playing out in their areas.

At the Poverello Center in Missoula, Montana, people in their 60s have become the second-largest age group served by the shelter, said Programs Director Lisa Sirois. She said that she has seen people in their 80s and 90s with no place to go and that the shelter has had to turn away some of them because it wasn’t designed for their needs.

People in wheelchairs have difficulty navigating the narrow hallways, she said, and the shelter’s elevator often breaks down, forcing people to use the stairs to access its dorms. The dorms are lined with bunk beds, which also present challenges.

“Any senior clients or folks with disabilities usually can’t do a top bunk,” Sirois said.

Brian Guyer, housing department director for the Human Resource Development Council Bozeman, said that when his shelter can’t serve a senior, it also must ask the person to leave. A memory that still haunts him, he said, is of an older man who froze to death three days after being denied a spot in the Bozeman shelter because he was incontinent and had mobility problems. “He actually was found outside of a Lowe’s store here in Bozeman,” Guyer said.

And with the older homeless population growing, his staff, already overworked and underpaid, cannot take care of them all, he said.

To prevent the worst outcomes, state and national groups are proposing a slew of changes.

The Montana Coalition to Solve Homelessness, a new organization that plans to lobby on behalf of shelter providers during the legislative session that starts in January, wants the state to modify its Medicaid program to make shelters eligible for funding. They would use the money to provide Medicaid services that could assist seniors living in a shelter or pay for case management services to help seniors navigate benefit programs that offer food assistance and subsidized housing or find assisted living and nursing home facilities.

But the number of available spots in those facilities is shrinking. Nationally, nursing home closures have displaced thousands of residents. In Montana, eight nursing homes either have closed this year or are slated to close by the end of December, according to Montana health officials. Rose Hughes, executive director of the Montana Health Care Association, said other facilities are having difficulty keeping their doors open because Medicaid reimbursement rates are often lower than their operating costs.

Other advocacy organizations want to focus on economic stabilization initiatives that would help older people stay in their homes. One idea is to change how Social Security payments are calculated by pegging them to the Elder Index, an online calculator that estimates living expenses by location. But that would require congressional approval.

“Your current housing is your best chance for keeping housing for this population,” said Mark Hinderlie, CEO of Hearth, which focuses on homelessness among seniors nationally.

Then there is increasing the housing supply, which most people agree is a long-term solution. In Montana, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte is proposing policies that would create incentives to encourage the building of more market-rate apartments. But critics say developers are unlikely to create enough subsidized housing on their own.

For Hilton, any sort of open housing unit can’t come soon enough. As he leaned against his truck in the driveway of his now former home, he hugged Beaty as she sobbed into his shoulder before they parted ways.

He drove away in search of a place to camp out, waiting for a call from a local assisted living facility with an opening. He hoped that call would come before winter temperatures settled in.


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  1. MildredR

    Not one mention of the word “Immigration.”

    All the inexpensive, funky, places around here where once a young couple, an artist or an older person with their cat could modestly live, now have one or two Hispanic families, immigration status unknown, occupying them.

    $500 from a Vietnam vet, or $2,000 from foreigners? What do you think a landlord would do?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Making Shit Up is not on.

      First, Columbia Falls has all of 5,000 people. Stagnant population. Montana is barely over 4% Hispanic.

      Second, in cities, AirBnB has done way way more to reduce rental stock than immigrants.

      But you fabricate a story out of whole cloth.

      1. GramSci

        I’m not sure that by “here” MildredR meant “Montana”. Largely unmentioned in all recent discussions of “immigration” is the corresponding increase in bilingual employment. A quick google brings to the top of the hit list a celebration of the following facts:

        * Over the past five years (2010-2015), demand for bilingual workers in the United States more than doubled.[1]
        * 630,000 job postings aimed at bilingual workers.[1]
        * California accounted for 19.4% of all job ads seeking bilingual workers.[1]
        * Employers are increasingly looking for workers who can speak Chinese, Spanish,and Arabic.
        * Bilingual remote jobs have spiked 30% since the start of COVID-19 according to FlexJob Study.
        * From 2020 to 2030, employment of interpreters and translators is expected to grow by 24%, faster than all other occupations.
        * Among Bilingual Operators, 54.3% of them are women compared to 39.0% which are men.
        * Bilingual employees typically earn 5-20% more per hour than monolingual employees.[4]
        * Fluency in a non-English language increased average pay by 2%.

        Back in the day, a lot of anti-immigrant invective was couched in terms of “English first”. But that was then. Today it’s hard for the non-college-educated to land an entry-level job punching a cash register or slaughtering hogs unless they’re bilingual.

        That’s the price of growing up monolingual in an empire. Today it’s being paid by former working-class Democrats who have become Trumpers.

        1. Waking Up

          It’s easier to propagandize people to your beliefs when you speak their language.

          For the owner of a business, it is worth far more than the “increased average pay by 2%” if they have “influencers” in their business who are multilingual. Just have the multilingual co-workers repeatedly tell everyone to “just work harder and you may also be the boss/owner someday” or “joining a union is bad for business.”

        2. Rip Van Winkle

          Blue Island, Illinois (a Chicago south suburb) was always a decent working class place to live, good housing stock and amenities. No out of town Corp transferrees pushing up costs.

        3. JBird4049

          The problems with housing are many with immigration only really being important I think during booms; during the dot com bubble of 2000 or so, I lot of the workers were imported undocumented, underpaid people stuffed into anything that had a roof. It made living anywhere below middle class difficult. Once the bubble popped, most of them left. Like the tides.

          Also, where is important. California has more of problem than most. Really, while I really, really wish that we controlled undocumented immigrants hard, most of them are here because the American Empire has laid economic devastation throughout the Americas. Should we say “how dare you try to survive!”; blaming desperately poor people is easy and yes, they are a problem, but I would get angry at the businesses, farmers, and the upper class people who encouraged, even to where there’s companies that ship workers to order, immigration for the cheap labor.

          I think that the following is more important.

          The developers want to build only certain kinds of profitable housing.

          Politicians encourage it both for the bribes and for the tax revenues.

          Private equity, wealthy investors, corporations are all massively buying housing often with the cheap funding that the federal government gave to them. Individuals have also bought a home or three to store their money.

          Airbnb has has also encouraged the pulling of large numbers of units for short term rental.

          The destruction of SROs and similar housing.

          And finally, the de facto monopolies of apartment rentals in much of the country with YieldStar’s algorithms.

      2. timbers

        In the city I live, many Haitians buy homes and an extended family moves in with lots of children and older folks. In the place I work, all the people in the Quality Control lab are white Americans fom birth while 90% of the factory workers are dark most I think Haitian and creole. USA has a hand in messing up Haiti but to my knowledge not where creole comes from. At any rate, messing up a nation is not sufficient reason IMO to allow immigrants in on the mass scale we see year after year. Would also note Republicans mostly make zero connection between regime change and immigration.

        1. Objective Ace

          Population growth rates are way lower then they have historically been and projected to only decrease more. It’s not clear how we can call the current immigration numbers a “mass scale year after year” when the net result is slower growth then we had in every prior decade.

          I think the larger problem is nationwide urban planning. We’re allowing liveable houses and neighborhoods to fall into disrepair and abandonment all over the midwest. Ironically, the very places there will be huge demand in the next 20+ years due to climate migration

          It would be one thing to let those cities fall apart if we were building the replacement houses elsewhere, but we’re not

          1. Earthling

            This is a big part of the current problem. The lower and middle classes have been starved of income for decades, and a LOT of homes that weren’t great quality to begin with have not been kept in repair, because few had the slack in their budget for new roofs, etc. versus shoes for kids and medical costs. If someone buys one of these wrecks and flips it, it’s often a cash investor hoping to prosper in the rental game.

            In my current housing shopping, have discovered tons of ‘affordable’ crackerbox 2 story homes nobody wants to live in or fix; some don’t even have a place to park, they were built so long ago.

            But out on the outskirts of town, palatial brick homes for the upper middle class ‘starting in the 200s (or 400s or 500s)’ are going up all the time. That allows enough ‘margin’ for the developers to bother with.

    2. midtownwageslave

      Not one mention of “private equity” or “venture capital”.

      All the inexpensive, funky, places around here where once a young couple, an artist or an older person with their cat could modestly live, are now owned by rent-seeking for-profit enterprises.

      $500 from a retired war criminal, or $2,000 from a tenant who will soon be paying $2,800? What do you think a parasitic landlord would do?

      1. Objective Ace

        > *parasitic* landlord

        I know this is a popular theme on this site, but I’d like to refer everyone to the article on housing costs and quality/reliable trademan Yves wrote last week. Landlords do provide a service, like it or not. Are there unscrupulous ones just like in every other industry? Absolutely. Are they driving up prices?.. probably safe to say yes to a degree, but there’s plenty of other non-landlord related factors driving up prices too, of which that quality tradesman issue is not a neglible one

        1. BlakeFelix

          Sustainable landlording is a tough(sometimes) and useful job, but the problem is that I’m not sure that the venture capital/ PE guys are competent to do the work, or even really care about stuff like that. Their MO is to buy something, slash the maintenance/ R&D/new construction budget so the current budget numbers look good, then have the company borrow as much money as possible. Then they take the borrowed money and pay themselves back for buying the company, and then drop it like a hot potato. So they are in the green whether or not all the houses fall down the next day. The quality tradesmen issue is a factor, but if the money is there people will develop the skills. NIMBYism stops more building than the labor shortage, although free highly skilled labor would certainly help a lot. There is ALWAYS a skilled labor shortage of some sort somewhere, I think.

  2. Gus 2021

    The real crazy thing is alot of the people getting kicked out say things like ,”I believe in the free market” ,or its “their right to make a profit”
    In recent years I have grown to hate Capitalism more and more,the carrot used to be there ,now I no longer believe….

    1. Glen

      How is this capitalism? Wall St and PE only has all that money because the Fed and Obama gave them trillions and bailed them out. People call it socailism for the rich, but even that doesn’t do justice to how distorted capitalism has become. Adam Smith’s free markets was how to enable a middle class and disempower the English rentier class (lords). Neoliberals have perverted free markets to do the opposite.

      1. witters

        Well, a case can be made that your “capitalism” is precisely what generates neoliberalism, for reasons I think reasonably apparent. Theory is one thing, but it makes sense only in and through practice, and that is the practice of capitalism as it spreads and “builds on its successes” all the way to what we have now.

        1. Glen

          Hm, no real disagreement with that argument. Except – differentiation – let’s consider naming conventions to make it clear to people that the current “capitalism” is different.

          Not sure how to go about that…

  3. caucus99percenter

    The photo “Lisa Beaty and Kim Hilton’s three-bedroom rental home in Columbia Falls, Montana” shows up in my browser as distorted — vertically extremely out of proportion relative to its width, i.e. waaay taller than it should be.

    1. juno mas

      If your browser is Firefox, right click the image and select “open in new tab”. The image should display in proper fashion.

  4. chuck roast

    The pols rang my doorbell a coupla times recently here in my rich little sea-side community. They told me how they were going to do tax-abatement for full time residents. This is local code for “the home-owners who escape back to Mass., Conn., NJ and NY in the winter will pay more!” Shocked the beejeezus out of them when I told them that I was a full time resident rent payer, and was voting for the guy, giving money to the guy and working for the guy that was carrying a rent control ordinance. That of course would be nobody on the ballot. The bourgeoisie…aaarrrrrrgggghhhhh!

  5. Joe Renter

    Yeah, what a great country we live in. My handle reflects my status – renter. I need to get off my butt and learn Spanish, as it seems that I might be able to survive on my humble income without having to work until I drop south of the border. If push comes to shove, I will shed this mortal coil on my own terms. Dealt with death in every lifetime before, this one is no different. Hopefully the youngers can work this out for their future. Mine is questionable. Death with dignity should not influenced by markets.

  6. Wukchumni

    There’s a bunch of homeless who aren’t vehicleless, and their ‘rent’ has gone up quite a bit with fuel & food costs being what they are.

    I’d guess that it skews much older-those living in their cars.

    Forget about finding a long term rental here in tiny town*, a friend has been frantically searching for a few months, grew up here and has lots of contacts and it’s nothing personal, but the $1500 she’s willing to pay per month doesn’t compete with the $5000 a month it’ll fetch on AirBnB.

    * a local wag calls us ‘Caucasian Island’ as we represent 91% of the cultural makeup

    1. Carolinian

      living in their cars

      I’ve mentioned seeing the movie version of Nomadland, and while the book is more in line with the above–the desperation angle of being old with nowhere to turn–the film takes a different tack and talks about those who wander out of choice. The sister of the fictional character played by Frances McDormand even says that she sees her sis as like the pioneers and their wagons, which is to say restlessness is profoundly American. In the movie McDormand has opportunities to settle down but at one point goes out and sleeps in her van instead. Freedom is just another word for nothing to lose.

      We Americans were given–or took–this Eden and turned it into a shopping mall and a money quest. But the Eden is still out there if you know where to look. For some of us the virtues of comfort and security are a very mixed bag.

      1. Rip Van Winkle

        President Polk ran the country as a wild land speculation enterprise. Legend has it that he and Tyler didn’t properly/ legally add Texas. They didn’t have DocuSign in those days.

      2. Soredemos

        That movie is also garbage that doesn’t want to face the reality of homelessness in the US and instead makes it into some bizarre liberal idealism. “Oh, they’re homeless because they want to be”.

        And I’m just like, m**********r, it’ll be below 33 where I live most of this week. No one is living without a house by choice.

  7. Felix_47

    It is said that without the Lend Lease program Russia would have been overrun by the Nazis. The Germans were defeated because they ran out of fuel and supplies….their troops were more effective than those of the US. The US spends a trillion per year on defense. Russia spends a twelfth of that. The US has a huge technological edge in war with far better communications, surveillance etc. And the technological edge with HIMARS and the M 177 in terms of range and accuracy is unquestioned and this is largely an artillery war. The Stinger has neutralized any close air support which is necessary get rid of artillery. The videos we see on Youtube of Stingers taking out Russian aircraft are horrible and Stingers are what drove Russia out of Afghanistan. And Russia did not arm the Taliban with Manpads while we were there. I suspect Putin still thought he could have a relationship with the west. Had Russia done that it would have been a blood bath for us. Maybe the neocons have found a war they can win with a political leadership they can control. The big losers are Europe and the US taxpayer and the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.

    1. John

      Lend Lease helped Russia but I doubt it was the difference between victory and defeat. Check your sources.US has a technological edge in the areas you mention? Questionable. HIMARS and M777 towed howitzer range and accuracy unquestioned? Check your sources. The Stinger is 40-year old technology and I have heard no mention of them in Ukraine. Putin gave up on any relation ship with the west in December 2021 with the draft treaties which were treated as ultimatums. Read his more recent speeches especially the most recent. The transcript is on the internet. It is even more explicit. The Ukraine is on its uppers having taken catastrophic losses of men and equipment. Russian and Donbass are about 1/10th of Ukraine. Subtract the presence of NATO mercenaries and equipment and the war was over months ago. The March negotiations in Turkey had a settlement worked out until the West scotched it. The biggest loser is Europe which is being deindustrialized by the sanctions. This is not an accident.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Russia is ahead of us in all major arms systems except subs. You need to consult better sources. Just a few examples: Russia is way ahead of us in signal jamming. It is way ahead of us in air defense systems. Its S-300 is better than anything in our arsenal. The S-400 is in deployment and the S-500 is being rolled out. Russia has 7 hypersonic missile systems deployed. We have yet to test one successfully.

      The reason we spend so much on the military is bases all over the world, something that Russia does not have, and super fussy tech heavy systems that are very breakage prone in the real world. Russia builds for combat. We build for profit and for whiz bang videos to show to Congress.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Russia builds for combat. We build for profit and for whiz bang videos to show to Congress.

        Yep. The United States had good stuff during the Second World War because it was trying to win a possibly existential war and there were people like Truman and his committee on war profiteering.

        And on the Soviet Union, the United States supplied them with the stuff they were not making which was transportation like trucks, plus extra everything like food, tanks, airplanes, train engines(!), and anything else that they asked for. People just don’t see pictures of allied equipment because the Soviets didn’t want it advertised. IIRC, it was the extra push that guaranteed Soviet victory; the Soviets did the actual work with the bodies of their people.

      2. Polar Socialist

        …except subs

        There are claims that the Yasen-class as silent as Virginia-class due to it’s reactor being cooled by natural circulation, not pumps. It also has only half of the crew of Virginia due to a lot of automation, and yet carries three times more firepower. Being the same size, Yasen likely has much longer endurance having more room for provisions and less mouths to feed.

        Where Russia lacks USA in the submarine warfare is the numbers and thus likely also in training, tactics and doctrine.

  8. Old Ghost

    Something like 10.7% of housing units in the USA are vacant.

    Here is what a google search turned up:

    “What percentage of homes in the U.S. are vacant?
    Approximately 89.3 percent of the housing units in the United States in the third quarter 2022 were occupied and 10.7 percent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 59.0 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 30.3 percent of the inventory in the third quarter 2022.Nov 3, 2022”

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Hmmm… The latest report from the US Census describes vacancy rates 6.0% and 0.9% for rental housing and owned homes, respectively: https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/currenthvspress.pdf. I wonder what the source of the discrepancy is.

      But what’s really scary is the chart on page 2 showing price increases for rentals or sales over time. It’s no wonder that people are ending up homeless.

  9. Marti61

    western Kansas- check out Russell, Ks. Clean house, no charm- 30K. Rental starting at 4625/ month. We are seeing folks move from Colorado / Arizona that have been priced out. We ended up in Lindsborg, more desirable, higher rents.

    1. EquitableEqual

      An agreement for the few ‘too big to fail’ rental property aggregators to be essentially paid to build affordable rental housing. There are a handful of companies scooping up properties from mostly mom and pop landlords across the states, and re setting prices to reflect the market (aka their other properties in the vicinity).

      This model is much further progressed in the Netherlands, the ratio of social to free market housing is tightly controlled, and social waiting lists are measured in years in all corners of the country. If you’re not on benefits, you’ll never rent below 1000 eur/mo as it’s reserved for low earners.

  10. Rip Van Winkle

    I remember those Don Knotts movies from the middle ‘60s. One where he’s an astronaut and the other where he is investigating a murder at a haunted house. Both were set in small towns and various people are living in a big boarding house with other regular everyday people living in the town, having breakfast and dinner together and so forth. A charming slice of Americana.

    1. Tamara

      Those boarding houses were the well built in-town mansions and large houses built in the 1890s through the 1920s that were subdivided into apartments during the depression and World War Two war worker housing.
      Today’s McMansions are crackerbox crap compared to those.

      As to immigrants taking up formerly inexpensive housing and pushing those who would once live there into more conventional, larger and more expensive housing, these numbers:
      “when looking at immigrant workers, we find that immigrant workers are about four times more likely overall to live in overcrowded housing. It’s about 3.5 percent for the native-born, but 14.3 percent for immigrants. As a result, immigrants account for nearly half of all workers in America living in overcrowded housing.”


      Maybe you think the above site is too biased to the right? Here’s the progressive humanist version:


      1. JBird4049

        Arguing over just who is stuff into overcrowded housing seems silly. There are lots of people of all races stuff into apartments and houses, often couch surfing. If you are just using the natives, that is “only” seven or eight million people. Those that do have places to sleep that is as opposed to the one million who are just homeless. Too many people chasing too few “affordable” (Hah!) places to sleep and all just bloodbags for the vampiric rentiers.

  11. Patrick Donnelly

    Japanese pensioners reportedly found that crime paid off with 3 hots and a cot.

    Anyone know if this is still true?

    A few such stories might cause economists to opine on the costs of incarceration, with free medical care, versus allowing genteel decline in cheap housing, with ‘freedom’ to make impossible choices?

    1. LawnDart

      Not Japan, but I’ve seen it happen in USA, especially during cold weather: I saw a number of parolees violate for the three-hots and a roof over their head, with one guy “transfering” himself to the federal system the day of his release from Statesville, getting off the bus, walking into a bank, handing the teller a note, walking outside and waiting for the police to arrive.

      The “medical care” in US prisons is something you really don’t want, not if you can help it.

    2. Acacia

      Most prison cells in Japan (with the exception of those on the northern island of Hokkaido) have no heating and no AC. In 2018, during a heat wave:

      In Miyoshi, where the prisoner died after a heat stroke, the temperature on the floor of his cell was 34 degrees C (93 F) shortly before 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

      At least a danchi probably has HVAC.

  12. PaulP

    ”If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected –
    I warn you not to be ordinary .. I warn you not to be young .. I warn you not to fall ill ..and I warn you not to grow old . ”
    Neil Kinnock – Glamorgan 1983

  13. Lexx

    Let’s not forget that the “landlords” who are selling their properties are frequently old people too. There are several people in my neighborhood who own other properties. They aren’t rich and don’t sport villainous mustaches. The rent is part of the income stream funding their retirement. Who owns more rentals in the U.S. – the kind of investor groups we like to vilify here on NC, or grandparents funding their old age? Who did the “investors” above buy the property from before driving up the rent? At asking price or was there a bidding war, especially in a state already short of housing?

    “Landlords” in Montana appear to own houses (even rundown houses) in a hot market. Why wouldn’t they cash in?

    My MIL in Washington state owns several rental properties. At one point as many as 16, all of them now mortgage free. She’s 86 years old.

  14. eg

    Is this really the same country that endured the Great Depression and came up with the New Deal?

    What an embarrassment.

    1. Thomas Schmidt

      The very same. That New Deal created FNMA, encouraging inflation in housing prices and a skim to bankers where a 30year mortgage has the mortgagee paying more nominal dollars to the bank than the house seller. There was a housing surplus in NYCuntil WW2 with landlords offering a free month’s rent to tenants who took a year lease. I heard the tales of many whose elders took the free month rent then moved to a new landlord’s place without paying rent.

      Remove the subsidy to banks and you might have more assets to divide between builders and buyers.

  15. aletheia33

    i’m 67, female, still working, no savings (due to CFS a/o around age 40), very low monthly SS (due to low earnings, again due to CFS), and “house poor”–housing costs (for condo, not a wealthy locale at all) are 2/3 of my simple budget. mortgage is not that high–it’s everything else, condo fees, prop taxes, utilities, that will keep going up.
    i can’t really bear to read this article.
    in some ways i feel i may not mind if “i’ll be gone” before TSHF for me.
    in some ways i feel blessed to still be alive and in decent health (even with some persisting CFS issues).
    i don’t want to dwell on what may come; i may not even be around when it comes.
    i feel the option to self-terminate is very important in all this.
    not that anyone should be pushed to it. but the reality is, many are.
    i still feel RELATIVELY very fortunate.

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