Accessing safe and affordable housing has been at the forefront of the national crisis response to the pandemic, reminding us that new systems are indeed possible amidst global health crises.
These concerns have been long-standing for LGBTQ+ elders. These elders have dealt with discrimination—from property managers, staff, other residents, health care systems, or service providers—when trying to access and maintain safe housing to safely age. According to an Equal Rights Center study, 48% of same-sex couples are subjected to discrimination when applying for housing. SAGE’s National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative works to address these obstacles through education, national advocacy, and efforts to build developments.
SAGE seeks to build the capacity of the mainstream housing sector and community advocates to understand the housing challenges facing older LGBTQ+ people, and we will provide space for working group cohorts to learn from and create new solutions within the current global context. This year’s institute included various engaging workshops, group problem-solving, and ongoing learning, focusing on anti-racism and the responsibility to cultivate safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people to age. Highlights include a keynote from Dr. Imani Woody of Mary’s House for Older Adults in Washington, D.C; an interactive design justice workshop from Peter Robinson of BlackSpace Urbanist Collective; and a wide range of housing and community development expertise from national advocates representing New Orleans, Philadelphia, Memphis, Baltimore, Akron, Sacramento, Houston, and more.
“After decades on the front lines of the LGBTQ+ movement, plus the added hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community’s LGBTQ+ pioneers deserve the comfort of knowing they can access inclusive and affordable housing. That is the driving force behind our National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Virtual Institute,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams.
“The health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened the urgency of expanding access to affordable housing for all,” said Christopher Brown, Community Investing and Development, Citi. “By supporting SAGE’s inclusive housing efforts, we aim to help ensure that, even in the face of a global pandemic, LGBTQ+ elders can rely on their homes as their foundation for safety and resilience.”
LGBTQ+ advocates, housing developers, policy advocates, and people working in aging who are interested in finding out more about the symposium held on September 23 & 24 can visit SAGE’s website.
SAGE is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country.