20 posts categorized "Housing"

December 21, 2015

LGBT Older Adults Town Hall or the First Time I Visited Florida

I have a confession. Until last week, I had never been to Florida. As a West Coaster for much of my life, Florida was simply too far. My inaugural visit was to Fort Lauderdale and included: eating lots of tacos; having everyone apologize to me because it was 80 degrees and overcast; attending the largest weekly gathering of LGBT older adults in the US; visiting with folks from our oldest affiliate, SAGE of South Florida and our newest, SAGE Tampa Bay; and, the main reason for my visit, serving on a panel at Town Hall meeting focused on LGBT older adults. I was proud to join a distinguished panel and a sizable crowd of LGBT and allied people for this important conversation. Moderated by the knowledgeable and passionate Hannah Willard, Policy and Outreach Coordinator for Equality Florida, the panel included David Jobin, President/Chief Executive Officer, Our Fund; Elizabeth Schwartz, Esq., Principal, Elizabeth F. Schwartz Attorneys and Mediators; and Stephanie Schneider, Esq., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, Law Office of Stephanie L. Schneider, P.A.

In partnership with AARP Florida, Equality Florida, Our Fund and SAGE, the Town Hall was held at the Pride Center at Equality Park in the Wilton Manors neighborhood. Just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors is described by USA today as, “the epicenter of gay life in all of South Florida.” This sounds a little hyperbolic but the census data lines right up. “The 2012 U.S. Census revealed which cities have the highest concentration of same-sex couple households (among cities with a population of 65,000 or above). The surprising frontrunner? Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where same-sex couples make up a whopping 2.8 percent of total households.” Another stat, which will surprise no one, is that 19.1% of Floridans are over 65.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to be around lots and lots of LGBT people, I experience a familiar duality. I’m exhilarated by the density of people like me; I feel safe; I feel a kind of calm and warmth and, simultaneously, I’m saddened by the reality that even in a place like Wilton Manors—where I can enjoy the sight of two older women walking hand-in-hand, gray heads bent towards each other, strolling slowly across a parking lot—even in this epicenter of gay life, LGBT people, including our elders, do not have full equality.

“AARP knows that for too long, LGBT elders have faced challenges as they navigate life that others do not.  In order to best fight for and equip each individual to live their best life as they age, it’s imperative for us to know what issues this community is facing and how we can collaborate to address them.”  Jeff Johnson, State Director, AARP Florida

This concentration of LGBT elders warrants our attention and our action. Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director of Equality Florida, clarifies why. “LGBT elders encounter the same challenges as other seniors: declining health, diminished income, ageism, the loss of family and friends. But, as so many know first hand, LGBT elders often must deal with ignorance and discrimination in the services available to them. That makes them among the most invisible, stigmatized, underserved and at-risk populations in the country.” This Town Hall, is the first of two community dialogues in Florida to learn how aging service providers and LGBT organizations in Florida are working to address these vast concerns and to identify what else needs to be done to assure that LGBT older adults in Florida enjoy a high quality of life free from discrimination. The second will be on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Metro Wellness Community Center, home of SAGE Tampa Bay.

David highlighted a new South Florida initiative by Our Fund and SAGE called Protecting Our Elders (POE). Working with local LGBT organizations, POE seeks to change the landscape and ensure that any services to or care required by an LGBT elder happens in a welcoming and discrimination-free environment. Stephanie and Elizabeth (who serves on SAGE’s board of directors) addressed legal and financial issues and I shared market research from our recent report, Out & Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-75. From the quality of the suggestions, observations and questions from the audience, it seems to me that the mix of informed LGBT older adults, engaged organizations from the aging sector like AARP Florida, committed funders like Our Fund, and hard-working LGBT organizations like Equality Florida are exactly what’s needed in this fight. 

By: Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives
Follow her on Twitter at @SerenaWorthy

 

September 25, 2015

Making a Difference in LGBT Elder Housing

HousingPhotos (1)As part of our national, multi-year LGBT elder housing initiative, we are creating a series of webinars focusing on education, training, policy insights and services with Enterprise Community Partners.  These webinars are designed to appeal to service providers, policy makers, other LGBT and senior organizations and LGBT people concerned about their housing options as they age. For the first time, two of our online events can be viewed, shared and downloaded by the public!

Training Housing Providers in LGBT Cultural Competency and Best Practices to Support LGBT Older People are now available! Both webinars feature important information and distinguished panelists, such as Mya Chamberlin, Director of Community Services, Friendly House Inc. (home of SAGE Metro Portland); Cheryl Gladstone, Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; Daniel Tietz, Chief Special Services Officer, New York City Human Resources Administration; Catherine Thurston, Senior Director of Programs, SAGE; and Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives, SAGE. 

September 5, 2015

Calamus Foundation of New York Awards $1 Million to Expand SAGE's Nationwide LGBT Elder Housing Efforts

Making a major investment to advance anti-discrimination protections for the growing number of older LGBT Americans, The Calamus Foundation of New York has awarded SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) $1 million to expand its national LGBT Elder Housing Initiative, launched in early 2015 to combat widespread discrimination against LGBT older adults in senior housing.

This path-breaking initiative was launched by SAGE in response to a research report last year documenting widespread discrimination against LGBT people seeking admission to or living in senior housing. The initiative engages consumers, providers, and policymakers to increase access to and create understanding and welcoming environments in housing for LGBT older people.

“As a long-time supporter, The Calamus Foundation of New York is proud once again to partner with SAGE to ensure LGBT people can age with dignity and have equal access to supportive housing and care as all other Americans,” said Louis Bradbury, Board President of The Calamus Foundation.

LGBT older people are currently faced with a nationwide housing crisis. A national research report published by the Equal Rights Center in 2014, with support from SAGE, found that 48% of older same sex couples applying for senior housing were subjected to discrimination. The effects of this rampant discrimination are further exacerbated by the fact that LGBT older people have lower incomes and less retirement savings than older Americans in general.

“SAGE is grateful for and inspired by this extraordinary grant from Calamus to eradicate housing discrimination against LGBT older people and ensure that our LGBT elder pioneers have access to housing where they are welcomed for who they are," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "Empowered by this anchor funding, SAGE’s national LGBT elder housing initiative will lead the way in addressing this housing crisis. We look forward to working with Calamus and SAGE’s other partners to bring this discrimination to an end.”

SAGE’s national LGBT elder housing initiative takes action by:

• Building LGBT-affirming senior housing in select cities
• Training senior housing providers in fair and welcoming treatment of LGBT older people
• Changing public policy to end housing discrimination against LGBT older people and expand federal support LGBT-inclusive elder housing
• Equipping LGBT older people with the resources they need to find— and advocate for—LGBT-friendly housing in all its forms
• Expanding services that support LGBT older people who face housing challenges.

This post was originally published as a press release on July 10, 2015. Read more about our LGBT elder adult housing initiative.

August 27, 2015

WEBINAR: Expanding Housing and Services for LGBT Older People

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Expanding Housing and Services for LGBT Older People
9/24/2015 | 2:00 - 3:30 pm EST
Register Here

Hosted by SAGE and Enterprise Community Partners, this free webinar features panelists who will discuss the topic of LGBT-friendly housing and strategies to expand housing opportunities for 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 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. In recent years, LGBT aging advocates have begun addressing these housing insecurities through a variety of approaches, including developing LGBT-specific housing; working with local housing providers to educate them about LGBT issues and their rights; informing LGBT elders about their rights under the Fair Housing Act; developing innovative programs such as "homesharing"; and connecting LGBT elders to LGBT-friendly services, including housing supports, in their distinct geographic communities.

Join us September 24 for an outstanding panel of policy leaders and providers as they discuss expanding programs and services to address the significant housing challenges faced by LGBT older people including: supportive services for aging in place, friendly visiting, senior centers and community programs, and information and referral services.

Aging service providers and LGBT older adults interested in learning about what types of services and programs are available across the country are encouraged to participate!

Panelists: Mya Chamberlin, Director of Community Services, Friendly House Inc. (home of SAGE Metro Portland); Cheryl Gladstone, Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.;  Daniel Tietz, Chief Special Services Officer, New York City Human Resources Administration; Catherine Thurston, Senior Director of Programs, SAGE; and Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives, SAGE. 

June 23, 2015

Training Housing Providers in LGBT Cultural Competency

15710716766_5332422e92_oWe are excited to announce that there are a few spots available in our special housing webinar with Enterprise Community Partners on Thursday, June 25 from 2-3:30 PM EST. This webinar will provide an interactive introduction to the culture, needs, and concerns of LGBT older adults, including why this elder population often is deterred from accessing needed services and supports. Anyone interested in learning about LGBT cultural competency with regards to housing needs is invited to join in and it's FREE! Register today!

Ask yourself a few questions. Where would you be without safe, secure housing? What if you couldn’t truly be yourself at home, fearing judgement or even abuse? How would you feel in the face of impending eviction? Many LGBT older people are faced with these questions every day and this webinar will attempt to shed light on their circumstances and what housing providers can do to help.  For more information, check out our national initiative to address the LGBT older adult housing crisis.

Training Housing Providers in LGBT Cultural Competency
June 25, 2015, 2:00 p.m. EST
Register Here
An interactive introduction to the culture, needs, and concerns of LGBT older adults, including why this elder population often is deterred from accessing needed services and supports.

June 2, 2015

Let's Talk About Housing!

Where would you be without safe, secure housing? What if you couldn’t truly be yourself at home, fearing judgement or even abuse? How would you feel in the face of impending eviction? Many LGBT older people are faced with these questions every day.  With that in mind, SAGE has launched the first national initiative to address the LGBT older adult housing crisis.

In the coming months, we'll offer a series of 90-minute webinars to explore this complicated issue:

Training Housing Providers in LGBT Cultural Competency
June 25, 2015, 2:00 p.m. EST
Register Here
An interactive introduction to the culture, needs, and concerns of LGBT older adults, including why this elder population often is deterred from accessing needed services and supports.

Expanding Housing and Services for LGBT Older People
September 24, 2015 2:00 p.m. EST
Register Here
An outstanding panel of program leaders and providers discuss expanding relevant supports and  services to address the significant housing challenges faced by LGBT older people.

Making Senior Housing Policy LGBT-Friendly
November 5, 2015 2:00 p.m. EST
Register Here
A discussion about how advocates and the federal government can facilitate the creation of welcoming, affordable, and supportive housing for all LGBT older adults, regardless of income.  

We'll schedule further webinars in 2016. For more information about any of these events, email Serena Worthington, SAGE’s Director of National Field Initiatives, at sworthington@sageusa.org. 

Take part in one or all of these conversations, and join SAGE in the fight to secure safe, supportive, affordable housing for LGBT older people across the United States! 

-- Posted by Kira Garcia

 

 

March 10, 2015

Historic Day for LGBT Elders? We’ll see!

Written by Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, this post was originally featured on The National LGBTQ Task Force blog on March 3, 2015.

Walking into the Eisenhower Office Building in the White House complex on February 10, I realized that I was crossing what has the potential to be a historic threshold for the LGBT community – I was entering a full day meeting with Obama administration officials around the issue of LGBT aging and, more specifically, affordable housing for LGBT elders.

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Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

Thanks to the work and advocacy of SAGE and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Administration was embarking on a conversation that should have happened years ago but now has taken on more of a crisis-like tone.

Think about it: today in the U.S. there are four affordable rental housing projects focused on LGBT elders – with a total of 285 units to fill that role.

Now reflect on the reality that there are around 2 million LGBT folks who are 65 and older – our elders – and that number is expected to reach 3 million by 2030 – only 15 years from now.

So where are these thousands – probably hundreds of thousands – of LGBT elders going to find safe, secure, respectful and affordable rentals if we only have less than 300 units now spread across the country?

There are 104 units in LA at Triangle Square, the first affordable rental project for LGBT elders which opened in 2007. Then in September 2013 Minneapolis joined in with its 46 units at Spirit on Lake, followed by 56 units in early 2014 at the John Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia and 79 apartments at the Town Hall development in Chicago that opened later in 2014. And, yes, there are more projects on the drawing boards but even these, if successfully developed won’t make a dent in the need.

That’s the context that surrounded the White House Conference on LGBT Elder Housing that took place on February 10, 2015.

Five panels, filled with some of the most knowledgeable people about aging issues, elder housing and public policy, covered the needs, options, resources, legal rights and policy changes required to meet the housing requirements of LGBT seniors .

The audience was made up of a who’s who of LGBT aging activists and allies as well as senior management of major government departments that deal with housing development and senior care issues.

The panel presentations were thorough and insistent while questions and comments were thoughtful and probing.

Keynote speaker for the gathering was Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor on Housing and Services for the Department of Housing and Urban Development who brought a supportive message around commitment to LGBT elders but also tempered with the reality of a lack of both resources and Congressional support.

A major feature of the day was a listening session where participants in the conference were able to pose questions and concerns to representatives of the Administration, including Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging with the Department of Health and Human Services, and Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging.

Audience comments were far ranging, passionate and covered a variety of needs and concerns for LGBT elders.

Takeaways from the Affordable Elder Housing Conference include the already established fact that there is a growing and critical need for housing that is safe, respectful and affordable for LGBT seniors plus the concomitant reality that given the lack of financial resources we are not going to be able to build our way out of the issue.

But, as one of the panelists proclaimed, we can effectively respond to the challenge with a combination of approaches including new affordable housing development, appropriate training for senior care providers and more intensive research around the needs and concerns of LGBT elders.

The White House Conference was a start of comprehensive conversations with government agencies and entities that can make these approaches of development, training and research work across the nation. We will be watching, waiting and witnessing to see if it turns out to be a historic beginning for a safe, secure, affordable housing future for our LGBT elders.

February 18, 2015

Taking our Housing Initiative to The White House

As the number of Americans age 65 and older surges over the next few decades, the number of LGBT older adults is estimated to double to 3 million by 2030. By this year – 2015 – one in two individuals who are HIV positive in this country will be over age 50.  Many struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing. 

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the White House, SAGE, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) hosted the National LGBT Elder Housing Summit.

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(L-R) Kathy Greenlee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Aging, Michael Adams, Executive Director, SAGE and Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging

We looked at the National LGBT Elder Housing Summit as a unique opportunity for the White House to bring together the LGBT community and the aging network to discuss the challenges communities across the country have faced in providing affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to LGBT older adults and older adults with HIV.  The summit also provided an opportunity to hear from panelists from Washington and across the nation to see how they have successfully begun to meet those challenges.  And together, with an eye towards the future, we explored how federal housing policy and those at the state and local level can shape how we address these challenges in the years to come.

The day included a number of panels, with participation by experts from across the country, including panels entitled:

  • Overview of the Housing Needs of LGBT Elders and the Importance of Training Providers
  • Building Housing - LGBT Older Adult Community Housing
  • Educating Consumers on the Legal Landscape Regarding Housing Rights for LGBT Older Adults. How to Find—and Advocate for—LGBT-Friendly Housing in all its Forms
  • Expanding Services - Best Practices in Services and Programs that Support LGBT Older People with their Housing Challenges
  • Changing Policy – Creating Housing, Financial Security, and an Inclusive Safety Net

We had the pleasure of hearing Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor on Housing and Services, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, deliver a keynote address on HUD’s interest in providing welcoming and affordable housing.

And we had the opportunity to host a White House Conference on Aging Listening Session, conducted by Kathy Greenlee, Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, and Nora Super, Executive Director, White House Conference on Aging.  LGBT older adults and advocates shared their vision of a successful White House Conference on Aging directly with Administrator Greenlee and Executive Director Super.

In sum, the day provided a unique opportunity for advocates to share their thoughts with policy makers, and for policy makers to share their latest thoughts with individuals both personally and professionally invested in improving the housing security of LGBT older adults.

February 6, 2015

The Official Launch of Our National Housing Initiative

Our new national LGBT older adult housing initiative is up and running! On February third we welcomed housing leaders from across the country for a panel discussion launching a five-part strategy to alleviate the housing crisis impacting LGBT older people throughout the U.S. An album of images from the event is online here

Speakers included marriage equality icon and former SAGE board member Edie Windsor, who recalled working on housing issues as early as the 1980's, as well as Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor for Housing and Services at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ho affirmed HUD’s support for the effort,  stating that “the LGBT community's needs must be front and center” as HUD expands senior housing across the country.

The panel also included Cheryl Gladstone of Enterprise Community Partners; Melissa Rothstein of the Equal Rights Center; David Cleghorn of HELP USA;  Kathleen Sullivan of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Sherrill Wayland of SAGE Metro St. Louis. 

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Six panelists addressed the crowd.

 

The panel's geographic diversity mirrored the national scope of the initiative, which offers five key strategies:

  • 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
  • Expanding LGBT-friendly services available in housing sites across the country. 

We hope you'll sign up for updates from SAGE online here and stay in touch as this critical initiative moves forward! 

November 6, 2014

People at Out & Equal are talking about Out & Visible!

People are talking about Out & Visible! Our new study of the fears, beliefs, behaviors and aspirations of LGBT older adults offers important--and startling--statistics that have long been missing from our conversations about LGBT aging. At the Out & Equal conference in San Francisco yesterday, a panel of representatives from major financial and consumer companies weighed in on how the report can help them better serve our communities. We're excited to share the findings of this study with new audiences across the country, and to hear their responses.

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For example, Out & Visible found that LGBT older people are far more concerned than non-LGBT older people about their financial security and retirement. 42% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned that they'll outlive their retirement savings, as compared to 25% of non-LGBT people.  A panelist from Prudential, Josh Stoffregen, remarked that "Being able to better understand the unique needs and challenges the older LGBT population is facing helps us as we continue to learn more about all aspects of our community.  We're pleased that SAGE is shedding light on this important topic."

Despite our years of recent progress, LGBT people still struggle with disproportionate barriers to health and happiness. Out & Visible provides many insights which reveal the extent of these issues and the work that's still necessary to create longer, healthier lives for LGBT older adults.

--Posted by Kira Garcia