Homeless population is getting older

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The proportion of homeless people aged 70 or over in the total homeless population surged to 34.4% in 2021 from 19.7% in 2016, a welfare ministry survey has found.

The survey on people without housing, held about every five years, also showed that the average age of homeless people rose by 2.1 years to 63.6 years.

In the survey, conducted in November 2021, homeless people in Tokyo’s 23 special wards, ordinance-designated major cities and other cities were interviewed by officials from the municipalities. Answers were given by 1,169 people. Of the respondents, men accounted for 95.8%, and women 4.2%.

The proportion of respondents living on the street for 10 years or longer came to 40%, up 5.4 percentage points. “People who became homeless a long time ago grew old and continue to live on the street,” a ministry official said.

Meanwhile, 6.3% said that they became homeless due to the impact of the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis.

The ministry also said that the number of homeless people across the country as of January this year fell 9.8% from a year before to 3,448, the lowest level since the 2003 start of the survey.

This was apparently because measures taken by local governments to help people in need stand on their own feet paid off to some extent.