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Crosscurrents

The life of an older woman without a home in San Francisco

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Imagine having nowhere to sleep, now, imagine that reality if you’re older, and maybe you suffer from illness or decreased mobility.

San Francisco’s Department of Aging and Adult Services says that about 19,000 seniors are living below the poverty line. One place some of those seniors are showing up, is at local shelters. Navigating San Francisco's shelter system can be dangerous as well as exhausting, and is something that KALW’s Rose Aguilar got to know well in the three months she spent researching homelessness among older women. Her findings were published in a recent article for The Nation.

ROSE AGUILAR: There are homeless women all over the city, but they're invisible. Because when you think about what you see on the streets, there are so many homeless people on the streets, but 95 percent of them are men, because it's too dangerous for women to live on the streets.

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete conversation.   

Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.