When a senior becomes homeless it is a shock, embarrassing, and for over 40% of them, the first time they haven't been able to take care of themselves. The longer a senior remains homeless, the more of their dignity, self-respect, and hope is lost. Health conditions become worse; their body ages at a faster rate than seniors in housing. Their mental health decays. They are victimized and abused. They are forced to wear what clothes they are given; eat the food that is handed out; shower and use the restroom by permission only, all choices are removed continuing to decay their autonomy, self-respect, and motivation.
As a part of the PATH to housing, the seniors at Justa Center begin to make choices, plans, and decisions that help them return to housing with dignity. Starter kits from donated goods help with basics to equip the kitchen and bath. Finding the right furniture at a thrift store or yard sale, encourages self-determination. Food banks, SNAP benefits, and supplemental groceries and supplies delivered weekly from Justa Center ensure that getting to the end of the month is possible with good nutrition.
There is one item that transforms an apartment into a home - a bed that is all yours! After months (sometimes years) of sleeping rough (in encampments, on the streets, or vehicles) or trying to find rest on a shelter cot or bunk with dozens of others around you, a private space with a new bed is a dream come true.
Through a small pilot grant, Justa Center has been able to provide a new mattresses (with bug-proof cover), steel platform bed frame, and new pillow on move-in day for 50 seniors. It is much more than a bed, its the foundation for a future that restores dignity, self-respect, and autonomy.
With your support, we can provide the next 50 seniors returning to independent living with a foundation for a positive future.
Since 2006, Justa Center has been the only organization in the southwest exclusively focused on seniors in homelessness with an emphasis on the return to housing. While providing life-sustaining services and support on the path back to housing, Justa Center is more than a hot meal and shower. The day center provides nutrition, safety, community, nurses clinic, legal aid, identity recovery, and access to dedicated Social Security and State Benefit providers.
Following a housing-first model, Justa Center's support and services extend to the seniors in housing to ensure a healthy transition and retention of independent living while aging in place. We provide ongoing supplemental nutrition, transition support, medical transport and aid, and other services as long as the senior wants those services.
We work in partnership with other senior-focused organizations like AARP, Area Agency on Aging, and Duet, to provide the safety net when housing is lost.
Gary L says, "Justa Center grounded me and brought me back. It's hope and a safe haven." Betty B credits Justa Center for saving her life and being her "happy place." Rod G puts it this way, "Its the beginning of something better than where you are now. The dreams I used to dream are coming true. Before Justa Center, I felt beat and zombie-like. Now I know there is real hope."
In 2019, over 1,200 homeless seniors came to Justa Center for help and hope. The arc of senior homelessness is growing and the cost of living makes it impossible for most seniors to live on Social Security alone. In the next 5-10 years it is estimated that over a quarter of a million seniors will be homeless in the U.S. We can change that by working together to find solutions that bring hope, joy and dreams come true.
Justa Center provides life-sustaining resources, services, and support to assist homeless seniors on their journey back to housing and supportive services to help prevent a return to homelessness.