LOS ANGELES — The median age of women living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row has increased from 44 to 50, according to a new study.
Women who’ve been homeless for five or more years contributed to the aging of the female population in the 50-block downtown neighborhood, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
The survey by the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition found women who recently lost their housing because of the death of a spouse or estrangement from family were also driving up the numbers.
The survey of 324 people found the percentage of women on Skid Row ages 51 to 61 jumped from 23 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2013.
Women 62 and older increased from 4 to 11 percent in the same period, while the median age jumped to 50 from 44.
“The growing number of older women living in skid row emphasizes the need for aging-related services, as well as accessible facilities and agencies,” the group’s report said.
Over the past year, 70 percent of Skid Row’s women lived in the streets or in shelters, more than 30 percent were victims of domestic violence and a quarter either abused drugs or alcohol, or were in recovery from substance addiction, or both, the survey found. The others lived in renovated flophouses and hotels or apartments.
Noting that an “overwhelming majority of women” reported they did not have access to clean, safe bathrooms and showers, the women’s center recommended the city fund 24-hour showers and bathrooms across Skid Row.
Other recommendations included expanding the permanent supportive housing stock for the homeless; requiring affordable and low-income units in every development, and giving women housing priority because of their heightened risk of becoming victims of street violence.
Skid Row’s total population is about 10,000, including more than 1,700 living in the streets, according to the Times. Officials estimate a quarter of the homeless are women.
The downtown women’s coalition — composed of shelters, housing and mental health service providers and community activists — conducts surveys every three years.