Growing Old On the Streets is America's Dirty, Little Secret

Commentary by Association of Mature American Citizens  |  2016-10-20

University of Pennsylvania Professor Dennis P. Culhane is a recognized expert on the issue of the growing number of older individuals who are on the streets.  He says that in 1990 “the peak age of adults who were homeless was 30” and that today the peak age is 55.

The homeless are the invisible denizens of America's cities, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. “But, the dirty little secret that has only come to light recently is the fact that the elderly are among the fastest growing populations living on the streets,” he reports.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development told Congress last year that there were more than 300,000 homeless Americans 50 years of age or more, 20% more than there were in 2007.

A recognized expert on the issue of the growing number of older individuals who are on the streets is University of Pennsylvania Professor Dennis P. Culhane. He says that in 1990 “the peak age of adults who were homeless was 30” and that today the peak age is 55.

Weber is calling on all candidates for election and re-election in November and those in the private sector to recognize the fact that more seniors are homeless than ever before and to take to heart the needs of “these hapless lost souls. Focus on their plight and let the truth be told, loud and clear. Everyone needs to pitch in if we are to solve this problem, which only grows bigger with each passing day.”

Some would blame the spike in homelessness among older Americans on the swiftly aging population. But, Weber says, it has more to do with the rising cost of health care and health insurance, the lagging economy, the impact of such diseases of old age as cancer and Alzheimer’s and, perhaps the most damaging cause of all, the lack of affordable housing.

“In fact, talk to any health provider who deals with the homeless and they will tell you that there has been a dramatic shift in recent years in the illnesses from which they suffer. It used to be that the homeless suffered mainly from drug abuse and mental illness. Nowadays they are more likely to have the chronic diseases of old age,” Weber notes.

Mel Martinez and Allyson Y. Schwartz are the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. Martinez is a former U.S. Senator from Florida and Schwartz is a former Congresswoman from Pennsylvania. They published an Opinion Article in U.S. News and World Report last month in which they concluded that “preventing and ending homelessness among older adults should become a major national priority in the United States. By setting goals to end homelessness; increasing available low-income senior housing; and by understanding that the challenge requires participation from public and private partners at all levels, we can and will find ways to ensure that all U.S. seniors have the shelter and security that they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Margot Kushel, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, is an expert on the elderly who become homeless. She says that providing them with housing is the key to fixing the problem. “A lot of these people have been healthy their whole lives. But it doesn't take long for their health to plummet once they're homeless. Once someone is housed, depression often lifts, stress fades away, infections heal. It's instant.”

Says Weber, “everyone has his own set of priorities, but one thing we all have in common is that we are all growing older. It's one of the hardest things we will all do in this life and so we should have compassion for those who need our help.”

The Association of Mature American Citizens [www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www.amac.us/join-amac.


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San Juan Unified Piloting K-8 Home School Program

Source: San Juan Unified Scholl District  |  2016-08-18

San Juan Unified is piloting a K-8 home school program and is currently enrolling students for the 2016-17 school year. The optional home school program helps meet students’ individual needs and offers support to families who choose to educate their children in kindergarten through eighth grade at home, partnering with a San Juan Unified credentialed teacher.

As part of the program, students must receive at least 4-6 hours of daily instruction in English and complete coursework meeting California standards for each subject. Additionally, parents or guardians must meet regularly with the assigned credentialed teacher, with flexible scheduling available. By participating in the home school program, families receive curriculum, ongoing guidance and vouchers for materials and activities for the school year.

For questions regarding enrolling your child, please call (916) 971-7017 or email dcovello@sanjuan.edu.


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Get Ready to Roll This Spring by Cleaning Up the Garage

NewsUSA  |  2016-05-24

Time for a Spring Spruce-Up.

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - As spring blooms and temperatures warm up, it's time to open up the windows and go outside. This means getting into your garage and dusting off the cobwebs from your lawnmower, wiping down your outdoor table and chairs, and getting your car primed to take you where you want to go this summer season.

According to experts, outdoor equipment such as trimmers, blowers, chainsaws and even patio furniture need some time and attention to get them ready for use after sitting all winter. This is especially true for cars that have borne the brunt of snow, ice, slush and other winter-related weather.

Here are some tips for getting your machinery, vehicles and outdoor equipment ready for summer use and entertaining:

  • Get your lawnmower out of the corner of the garage. Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth, oil moving parts to ensure they are well lubricated, and make sure the blade is sharp. Sharp blades are better for your lawn and put less stress on the engine. If you added a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL Storage prior to putting it away for the winter, it should start up smoothly. Should you have some hard starts, try a revitalizer like Start Your Engines! to get it revved up quickly.

  • Prime your automobile. With the cost of driving at a six-year low, you'll want to take that long-overdue road trip this summer, so ensuring that your auto is in tip-top shape is paramount. According to the AAA, driving costs are affected by how well your vehicle runs, and that includes the inside and outside of your car. Performing regular maintenance can ensure more efficient operation and help prevent costly repairs. One way to save money is by detailing the car yourself using products such as 303 Automotive Protectant to protect interior surfaces from cracking and fading. Originally engineered for aerospace and aviation applications, 303 Automotive Protectant safeguards against harmful UV rays that can cause discoloration. In addition, it keeps surfaces looking newer, leaves a dry matte finish so there's no oily feel, and helps repel dust. For the exterior, consider 303 Automotive Speed Detailer, which will instantly clean, protect and give your car a showroom shine. It's a great way to keep your car cleaner between washings. And at every fill-up to keep the engine running smoothly, use STA-BIL 360 Performance, a fuel treatment that protects your engine above and below the fuel line to keep your engine running cleaner, stronger and with greater performance.

  • Assess your outdoor furniture. No matter what material your outdoor furniture is made of, start by wiping down the surfaces. Plastic furniture, if left uncovered all winter, may just need a little soap and water to remove any dirt. To protect your outdoor furniture's hard surfaces from harmful UV Rays, apply a layer of 303 Protectant. You'll also want to protect your fabrics from water and other debris, so try 303 Fabric Guard.

For more information, please visit www.goldeagle.com.


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Affordable Homebuilders Support Aiding Struggling Californians

Source: CHC  |  2016-04-29

CHC is a non-partisan advocate for the production and preservation of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income Californians. We represent the development, building, financial, and public sectors united in their goal that every Californian has a safe, affordable place to call home. Photo courtesy CHC

The California Housing Consortium released the following statement from Executive Director Ray Pearl in support of a proposal released recently by 12 Democratic Assemblymembers that would deliver relief to Californians struggling to keep up with skyrocketing rents:

“CHC wholeheartedly supports the proposal introduced today by Asms. Chiu, Thurmond, and their colleagues with support from Speaker Rendon. This plan recognizes that our state’s housing affordability crisis is hurting California businesses and sending California jobs out of state. California’s affordable home developers are ready to deploy this much-needed investment to put affordable homes within reach of the state’s neediest individuals and families, create jobs, and strengthen communities.”

The Assemblymembers’ proposal comes as state investment needed to catalyze affordable development has plummeted by approximately $1.7 billion annually, or 79 percent, following the elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 and the exhaustion of state housing bonds.

California’s shortfall of 1.5 million apartments affordable to the neediest Californians is driving our state’s poverty rate to the highest in the nation.

The proposal introduced today would mark a turning point in California’s housing affordability crisis, and jumpstart building of affordable places to live for struggling individuals and families.


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Backyard Bounty: Vegetables Are Nature's Original Nutritional Powerhouses

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

Tomatoes are a gardener’s favorite, plant in ground, raised beds or in containers.

(BPT) - You’ve probably heard the chatter around how a handful of unusual foods are must-eat nutritional powerhouses - and wondered how you’ll ever get your kids to try kale or chia seeds. But you don’t have to stress over how to incorporate the latest health food fads into your family’s diet in order to get powerful nutrition.

The truth is, those headline-grabbers aren’t the only nutritional powerhouses. Most vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, so quit worrying about how to pronounce acai or where to find seaweed in the supermarket. Instead, improve your family’s diet and save some money by growing nutrition-packed vegetables right in your own backyard. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Growing squash is easier than finding chia seeds. Many vegetables are easy to grow in any home environment, whether it’s a large garden plot or pots on your patio. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula and kale are full of nutrients and simple to grow, even for beginners. Transplants, like those offered by Bonnie Plants, make it even easier by helping you bypass the work of starting from seed. Plus, you’ll harvest six weeks sooner.

  • Healthy benefits go far beyond nutrition. Growing your own vegetables and herbs means you’ll always have a fresh supply of nutrient-rich food at home. But gardening also delivers healthful exercise, time in the fresh air, and it’s a relaxing and satisfying activity.

  • Gardens are good for Mother Nature. The more food you grow at home, the fewer natural resources will be needed to grow veggies in far off places and ship them to your local supermarket. Your garden is also a great opportunity to recycle household food waste as compost. Plus, when you choose Bonnie Plants in biodegradable pots, you’re saving millions of pounds of plastic from landfills. The pots decompose, add nutrients to the soil and help prevent transplant shock.

  • Gardening could get your kids excited about veggies - really! When kids participate in gardening, they take ownership of the plants they help grow. And with their hands in the dirt, they’re not on their cellphones or playing video games. Kids who grow veggies are much more likely to eat them, and make gardening an ongoing, healthy habit.

  • Save money at the supermarket. Growing your own food means you’ll spend much less money in the produce aisle. Plus, you can grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, even expensive, restaurant-style “foodie” greens you may not have tried otherwise.

The plant pros at Bonnie recommend these nutrient powerhouses to jumpstart your garden:

  • Strawberries - Just one cup of berries contains 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended allowance of vitamin C. Phenols are potent antioxidants that work to protect the heart, fight cancer, block inflammation, and they give strawberries their red color.

  • Sweet potatoes - Alpha and beta carotene give sweet potatoes their bright orange color, and your body converts these compounds into vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, bones and immune system. A half cup of sweet potato provides nearly four times the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A, plus vitamins C, B6, potassium and manganese.

  • Broccoli - This green nutritional giant delivers vitamins C, A and K (associated with bone health), folate and sulforaphane that helps stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes.

  • Tomatoes - Tomatoes provide vitamins A, C and B, potassium and lycopene - an important phytonutrient thought to help fight various cancers and lower cholesterol.

  • Spinach - Spinach contains more than a dozen phytonutrients, and twice the daily recommended allowance of vitamin K. These nutrients contribute to cardiovascular and colon health, better brain function, eyesight and increased energy.

  • Kale - Kale contains vitamins A, C and K. A cup of cooked kale gives you more than 1,000 percent of the daily value for vitamin K. It’s also high in manganese, which promotes bone density.

  • Cauliflower - Low in calories and carbohydrates, cauliflower is packed with a long list of nutrients, including phytonutrients. They say cauliflower is the new kale!

For more information on growing nutritional powerhouse vegetables, visit www.bonnieplants.com. Bonnie Plants is the largest producer and supplier of vegetable and herb plants in North America. You’ll find their plants at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes and 4,700 independent garden retailers.


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Battling Mosquitos? Eliminate Standing Water to Deprive Bugs of Breeding Spots

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

(BPT) - Malaria, West Nile virus and heartworms - as if you didn’t already have enough reasons to fear and loathe mosquitoes and the illnesses they spread, now there’s Zika, a virus that is possibly linked to birth defects. Mosquitoes are much more than itchy nuisances; the illnesses they can transmit with their bite kill thousands of humans every year. In fact, some scientists believe malaria, a mosquito-borne illness, has killed one out of every two humans who has ever lived, according to a report in National Geographic.

Keeping mosquitoes away from your home, yard and family is much more than a matter of convenience; it may help preserve your health. Eliminating standing water from your property is the single most effective thing you can do as a homeowner to minimize the presence of mosquitoes around your property. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water - puddles and standing water in your yard can be a breeding ground.

“When warm weather arrives, that low spot in the backyard where water always collects becomes much more troublesome than just being an eyesore,” says Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer with NDS Inc., a leading manufacturer of water management solutions. “It will attract mosquitoes that will want to lay their eggs in that standing water, but first they need to bite a human or two.”

Homeowners may think solving their drainage problems will be difficult and costly, or that they’ll end up with an ugly drainage ditch on their property. But Larsen says it is possible to eliminate standing water cost-effectively and attractively. He suggests homeowners take these five simple steps:

1. Identify actual or potential trouble spots.

Is there a low area in the yard where water collects after rain? Are any downspouts or gutters on your home clogged with debris? Does water linger along a retaining wall, edging, walkway or patio after you’ve irrigated the lawn? Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in very shallow standing water, so anywhere water collects could be a breeding ground.

2. Address the easy fixes first.

The gutters, downspouts and minor collection spots are easily addressed by simply clearing away the obstructions. When those issues are resolved, homeowners should concentrate on addressing low areas, Larsen says. “These muddy, wet areas look bad, can kill grass, attract mosquitos and eventually lead to more serious damage to a property,” he says.

3. Determine the scope of the problem.

Standing water on a property can occur in multiple spots, from walkways to lawns. NDS offers an online Home Drainage Center to help you identify your problem, possible solutions and whether the resolution is a DIY project or if you’ll need to hire a professional.

4. Choose and install your solution.

French drains, underground drainage and catch basins are typical solutions for many home drainage problems. Placing drainage underground not only minimizes the risk of mosquitoes breeding in standing water, it can preserve the visual appeal of your landscape. For example, for NDS drainage solutions that involve catch basins, the company offers a wide selection of decorative catch basin grates, so the portion of the system you can’t hide will be visually appealing. Most drainage systems can be installed in just one weekend.

5. Take steps to protect yourself.

Mosquitoes have been around since the time of the dinosaurs (and they’ve been spreading malaria for that long, too), according to National Geographic. While eliminating standing water on your property will go a long way toward reducing the number of mosquitoes in your environment, it’s virtually impossible to remove them entirely. The American Mosquito Control Association says some mosquitoes will travel 40 miles or more in search of a meal. When outdoors, wear insect repellant on exposed skin and clothing. Choose repellants with an active ingredient like DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Dark colors attract mosquitoes, so wear lighter colored clothing, and burn citronella candles or run a fan near the ground when you’re enjoying your deck or patio.

For more information about home drainage solutions, visit www.ndspro.com/home-drainage, where you’ll also find instructional videos, the Home Drainage Center, production recommendations, installation instructions and helpful links. You can also email your home drainage questions to drdrainage@ndspro.com.


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5 Essential Spring Home Improvement Projects

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-20

(BPT) - The arrival of spring means new beginnings and a fresh chance to tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off for the last several months. Get your home ready for summer and make it more beautiful, efficient and functional than ever with these five seasonal projects.

Keep, donate or trash.

Your first step is to declutter the home. Separate items into three categories: keep, donate or trash. Here's a tip: if you haven’t used something in the last year, chances are you can get rid of it. Items such as unwanted electronics, housewares and gently used clothing can be donated to charity. For everything else, check with your local recycling program before putting anything in the garbage.

Get serious about spring cleaning.

Give your home a fresh start by wiping down windows, countertops, electronics, appliances, doorknobs, furniture, light fixtures and ceiling fans. Also, be sure to mop floors and vacuum carpet. Never cleaned windows before? Find out how with our free guide.

Bring your deck back to life.

We think winter is hard on us, but just imagine how hard it is on our decks, which weather the bitter cold temperatures, snow and ice all season long. Take a close look at your deck and check for warped, loose or splintered boards. Sweep away anything that may have fallen between the cracks, make any needed repairs, scrub or power wash, and restain if necessary.

Do a color refresh.

Whether you’re adding a fresh coat of paint to your interior or exterior walls, or completely changing the colors of your home, spring is the perfect time to renew your home’s look. One 2016 color trend: bold entry doors like those from Pella. Learn more and pick out your new, colorful front door.

Bloom where you are planted.

Whether you are a homeowner, renter or sublessee, celebrate the end of winter by creating spaces for bright flowers and making the most of your garden. Apartment dwellers, bring the outdoors in with hanging baskets, potted plants or herbs.


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