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.
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.