Erosh launches new guide to LGBT+ Older People and Sheltered & Retirement Housing

For increasing numbers of older people, it is a struggle to find LGBT+ friendly accommodation. Specialist housing schemes are rare and sheltered and retirement housing providers do not always promote schemes as ‘LGBT+ friendly’. According to Stonewall Housing (Guardian, 27 June 2016), although overt prejudice and discrimination may have been reduced by the Equality Act 2010, older LGBT+ people “have experienced a lifetime of discrimination, fear and isolation. This continues to impact on their expectations of housing, support and care as they age, and their anxiety about facing further discrimination” and “many of their peer age group are still homophobic”. Erosh members have reported incidents of discrimination experienced by LGBT+ people when they move into sheltered and retirement housing schemes to the extent that sometimes LGBT+ residents have chosen to no longer be ‘out’.

Stonewall Housing’s 2016 Building Safe Choices found the provision of housing and related care and support for older LGBT+ people inadequate: no specialist schemes and fear despite providers’ best efforts. Key themes included:

• Specialist LGBT+ schemes v mainstream housing with a clear understanding of LGBT+ needs
• The importance of home as a safe, secure, private space for older LGBT+ people who often feel isolated
• Need for links with the wider LGBT+ community
• The role of co-housing for older LGBT+ people and naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs)
• The need for organisations to publicise any proactivity in relation to older LGBT+ people
• The need for information, advice and advocacy for older LGBT+ people to enable them to make choices about a range of affordable housing and care options (and for there to be options)
• The critical role of monitoring, staff training and an inclusive organisational culture
• Concerns about lack of understanding and knowledge from housing, care and support staff resulting in older LGBT+ people feeling vulnerable to abuse

It is the last bullet point we particularly want to address with this guide rather than to engage in the debate about whether or not there should be specialist schemes for older LGBT+ people; or to provide guidance for providers who are or are considering developing specialist schemes. Our guide focuses on improving the understanding of the needs and concerns of older LGBT+ people so you are better able to:

a)  promote yourself as LGBT+-friendly
b)  support older LGBT+ people who move into your schemes
c)  help overcome discrimination faced by older LGBT+ people from other residents

Our guide:

➢ Provides some key definitions to aid understanding of older LGBT+ people, their needs and concerns 
➢ Identifies the links with housing, health and social care legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks
➢ Considers the particular housing and support needs of older LGBT+ people
➢ Examines what sheltered and retirement housing providers can do to support older LGBT+ people
➢ Looks at what older LGBT+ people experiencing discrimination and homophobia can do
➢ Signposts you to other sources of information and advice 

Erosh members can download the guide (you will need to login)

If you are not currently a member join erosh to gain access to this and all our other guides

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