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May 29, 2014

Exploring Housing Struggles and Solutions in a New Webinar

One of the biggest issues facing many LGBT older adults in cities and towns across the country is finding safe, affordable housing. With this in mind, SAGE and Enterprise Community Partners are co-presenting a webinar on June 4th from 2:30pm-4:00pm ET, on building housing services and supports that are inclusive and supporting of LGBT elders.

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 in which they have lived 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. [1] In fact, in a recent report, the San Francisco Aging Policy Task Force concluded, “that the number one problem LGBT older adults are dealing with…is ensuring they have stable housing.”[2] 

Join this outstanding panel as they discuss public policy solutions including: increasing access to affordable housing, connecting health care providers to housing providers, addressing housing discrimination, and increasing the number of LGBT culturally competent housing providers. 

Building Housing Services & Supports Webinar

Wednesday, June 4
2:30pm-4:00pm ET
Register online here

Michael Adams, Executive Director, SAGE


  • Cheryl Gladstone, Senior Housing Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
  • Kat Taylor, Disability Rights Program Manager, Equal Rights Center
  • Seth Kilbourn, Executive Director, Openhouse
  • Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director, SAGE Metro St. Louis

Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives, SAGE


[1] The Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H.J., Emlet, C. A., Muraco, A., Erosheva, E. A.,Hoy Ellis, C. P., Goldsen, J., Petry, H., Institute for Multigenerational Health, 2011, http://caringandaging.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Full-report10-25-12.pdf

[2] LGBT Aging Panel Zeros in on Housing, Matthew J. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter, March 6, 2014,  http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=69531



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In 1986-87 I helped to start MATRIX, a non-profit focused on providing housing options for older lesbians. Unfortunately, it didn't last, but the concept was unique for its time. Over 30 women were committed to serving on the Board and as members of the corporation (including Edie Windsor). Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner gave us start-up money. I am unable to attend the webinar, but I would like to offer our vision:
As an intergenerational community, MATRIX will create an environment for feminists and lesbians to reclaim our right to heritage, herstory and family. (At the time, property in the Catskills was affordable and a modest distance from NYC, so our strategy involved the procurement of land no more than 3 hours from the city.) MATRIX will be a resort/healing/meeting center with housing options for older women. Members of the retirement community will have the opportunity to actively participate in the operation and events of the resort as they wish. A portion of the profit yielded by the resort will be used to provide subsidized retirement housing for women of lesser means. Our vision included, hotel-style accommodations, meeting rooms, dining rooms, bar, library, gift shop, greenhouse, music room, art work spaces, spirituality center, health & fitness with pool/whirlpool, nature trails, athletic space, etc. Women staying at the resort will have the advantage of blending activities with older women who live at MATRIX; thus benefiting from their wisdom and significance. A mix of townhouses/apartments and shared living environments will meet the needs of those older women who have the means to buy into MATRIX or those who require subsidized housing. It was a glorious plan and we attracted 600 women to a fundraiser at the Limelight disco. I still have our brochures, newsletters, photos and our action plan. I was going to give the portfolio to the Lesbian Herstory Archives, but if anyone at SAGE would want to utilize this material, I will send it.

I read about retirement options that are being built around the country for those who are affluent, and glad to know that they exist. But as a social worker, I am encouraged that there are buildings in LA and in Philadelphia that meet the needs of those with more modest incomes. Since governments and public opinion changes, we cannot depend on federal, state or city support. The MATRIX concept makes it possible for us to support ourselves! Although MATRIX was developed with a feminist mindset, it would of course be possible to develop such a project including the entire LGBT community.

Hope the webinar is successful and please say hi, to Sherrill Wayland.

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