LGBT older people often face unique challenges in finding safe, affirming, affordable housing, and are disproportionately living in poverty, often as the result of lifelong discrimination. Due to higher levels of financial insecurity and a general lack of affordable housing, many LGBT elders find that they cannot afford homes in the communities they may have lived in for years. Others face harassment and intimidation in their homes and in long-term care settings from aging professionals, other residents, and even their own family members.
A 2014 report by the Equal Rights Center, with support from SAGE, found that 48% of older same sex couples applying for senior housing as part of a national test were subjected to discrimination. This high level of discrimination makes it extremely difficult for LGBT older people to find appropriate housing as they age.
SAGE launched the National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative to address this crisis. SAGE’s Initiative provides five strategies to expand housing opportunities for LGBT older people:
- Building LGBT elder housing and sharing SAGE’s expertise from such projects;
- Training existing housing facilities to provide housing in an LGBT-welcoming, non-discriminatory manner;
- Changing public policies to clear the way for more LGBT elder housing and bar housing discrimination against LGBT older people;
- Educating LGBT older people in how to look for LGBT-friendly housing and how to exercise their rights; and
- Expanding LGBT-friendly services available in housing sites across the country.