Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults and Housing
As our LGBT population ages, research illustrates that the right to safe and affordable housing is not a guarantee. On February26, 2014, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), in partnership with SAGE, released the results of a 10-state testing-based investigation documenting differential treatment against older same-sex couples seeking housing in senior living facilities. The report, Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same-Sex Couples, can be read here. Among other findings, the tests showed that 48% of same-sex couples experienced at least one form of adverse differential treatment when inquiring about senior housing as compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
The report showed the following from the investigation:
- Housing agents providing information about additional units being available to the tester from an opposite-sex couple;
- Housing agents advising the tester from the same-sex couple about additional fees, costs, and/or a more extensive application process than were disclosed to the heterosexual tester;
- Housing agents providing information about additional amenities to the testers from the opposite sex couple that were not mentioned to the tester from the same sex couple; and
- Housing agents offering "specials" and discounts to the tester from the same-sex couple that were not offered to the tester from the opposite sex couple.
These results highlight the need for further research to provide additional data on housing discrimination against older LGBT adults and for policy remedies that improve housing options for LGBT older adults, no matter where they live. Read our full press release here.
In addition to this report, more LGBT housing news hit the wires, including a thoughtful piece from SAGE Senior Director of Public Policy & Communications Robert Espinoza on the right to housing and aging discrimination in the LGBT community via The Huffington Post. In addition, the New York Times released an article on the need for LGBT-specific senior housing featuring SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams. Serena Worthington, SAGE's director of community advocacy & capacity-building, is quoted in a recent piece from the BBC on thegrowth of gay retirement homes. And SAGE is featured in MSNBC's piece on LGBT housing, which focuses on the opening of the John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia.