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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


The increasing risk of homelessness among older adults in Washington, DC, fueled predominantly by soaring medical expenses, represents a pressing societal concern. Despite notable reductions in overall homelessness rates, the number of older adults experiencing homelessness remains unchanged. As the demographic of older adults grows, the urgency to address this issue escalates. This article examines the complex nexus of high medical costs, poverty, and homelessness among the elderly community in Washington, DC. The article proposes, evaluates, and recommends five policy alternatives geared toward addressing this multifaceted predicament. After employing a rigorous policy analysis approach, alternative two, which focuses on expanding Medicare coverage by lowering eligibility criteria from 65 to 63 years of age, is the recommended policy choice. This proposed recommendation not only aims to ameliorate immediate financial vulnerabilities but also endeavors to democratize access to indispensable healthcare services. Through a blend of empirical analyses, this measure best mitigates the risk of homelessness among the elderly populace in the nation's capital. In synthesizing empirical insights, theoretical perspectives, and policy pragmatism, this article seeks to catalyze informed dialogue and efficacious action toward safeguarding the dignity and security of older adults in Washington, DC, and beyond.

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