Joan Bausch is a 76-year-old senior citizen struggling to make ends meet.

According to the County of Placer, seniors make up 18.72 percent of the population and this number is projected to climb to 27.11 percent by 2036.

Due to several health obstacles Joan has faced in recent years, including surviving cancer twice, she is no longer able to work and intermittently still undergoes treatment at Stanford for additional health ailments. Without her work income, Joan has still managed to get by on her Social Security and a small pension, together totaling $1050, with her rent consuming $825, leaving her with just $225 each month for groceries, bills and other expenses. However, Joan’s living situation recently shifted from barely getting by to facing the sobering reality that she may lose her home.

Joan has lived in the same apartment for over eight years in Auburn. She reported that her rent has increased multiple times over the years and each time she was given only 30 days’ notice of the increase. Today, her rent stands at $1035 a month, an increase of 25.5 percent, leaving her with a mere $15 to spend. In total, 98.5 percent of Joan’s fixed income now goes to rent.

Seniors like Joan who live on a fixed income depend on consistent, affordable housing, but there is deficit here and many are finding themselves in similar situations. In Placer County, creating lasting affordable housing for seniors like Joan and for everyone living and work here needs to be and stay a priority.