While many seniors have difficulty finding affordable housing, LGBTQ+ elders face barriers that are both common and unique. As queer and transgender people age, they are less likely to have children or family that can support them as they age in place. Traditional senior living residences and nursing homes often have no experience with LGBTQ+ clients and assumptions about queer and trans elders can run the gamut from annoying to offensive.
That’s why Services & Advocacy for LGBTQ+ Elders (SAGE) created the National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative, a series of free training videos for housing developers, property management, and service providers. The trainings focus on a wide range of topics, including Fair Housing Law, LIHTC 101, LGBTQ+ history and culture, to building trust and community buy-in and the importance of partnering with an anchor organization.
Focusing on successful LGBTQ+ senior housing provides a glimpse into the impact of affirming housing on these elders. One of the developments highlighted is Town Hall Apartments, Chicago’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing, developed by Heartland Alliance and the Center on Halsted in 2014. The trainings also profile intergenerational housing as a way to provide stable housing and mentorship for LGBTQ+ youth as well as support and housing for LGBTQ+ elders. One Roof Chicago, for example, aims to provide formal intergenerational housing to tackle queer and trans youth homelessness and culturally competent LGBTQ+ senior living.
These free training resources from SAGE’s National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative are intended to ensure that more seniors are affirmed and respected in their identity and can feel truly at home.