St. Mary’s Center in West Oakland helps some of the 71,000 seniors in Alameda County who do not have enough money to meet their basic needs; that is half of the people in Alameda County who are 65 and over. But the center is just one node in the complex and incomplete web of aid for seniors who do not have enough money to live on. “Forget the issue of any kind of dementia, long-term chronic mental health issues, substance abuse issues—just be homeless and experience the trauma of that and then figure this out,” said Carol Johnson, the director of St. Mary’s.

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