NewsMaking It In San Diego


Making It in San Diego: Seniors making sacrifices to get by

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 14, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As the cost of living rises, seniors in San Diego are making difficult choices to survive here.

From stretching prescriptions to sleeping in their cars, many feel hopeless.

“It imploded on me, the cost of food, the rent, transportation," said Deanna Lynn Tomczak, who lived in her car for months.

Tomczak is a longtime San Diego resident. When her health started deteriorating, so did many other things in her life.

While living in her car, she stayed overnight at the Jewish Family Service Safe Parking Program, where she had access to food, a shower, and a case management team.

“I felt so safe here," said Tomczak. “The kindness, the love, the caring, it’s what I needed, and they were here for me.”

Jewish Family Service (JFS) is working to keep seniors from falling through the cracks.

“Finding housing for older adults is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing," said Meredith Morgenroth with JFS. "Families we tend to be able to place in a much shorter time, we have older adults living in their cars here over a year.”

It took nine months for Tomczak's team to help find her permanent housing.

"The kind, the love, the caring, it’s what I needed, and they were here for me," said Tomczak.

In addition to the parking program, JFS offers transportation, home-delivered meals, older adult centers, and a pantry of fresh food.

“Older adults, regardless of income, some are financially stable, and some are extremely vulnerable and low-income, all make sacrifices. Sometimes it’s out of fear of not having something tomorrow, other times its, they barely have the bare essentials for day-to-day living.”

Tomczak says the help she received is giving her newfound optimism for the future.

To get help from Jewish Family Service, call (858) 637-3210. Older adults can also get access to resources by calling 211.

For mental health and suicide prevention resources, seniors can visit