Despite major advancements in LGBTQ+ rights, LGBTQ+ elders still face significantly higher rates of housing discrimination than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.
According to an Equal Rights Center study, nearly half of older same-sex couples seeking elder housing are either outright denied due to bias, or are made to feel unwelcome based on their identity.
The result? Discrimination puts LGBTQ+ elders at greater risk for chronic health problems, social isolation, poverty and premature mortality.
That’s why the SAGE started the National LGBTQ+ Housing Initiative (NHI): to make safe, affordable and LGBTQ+-affirming housing easier to find for those who need it.
By fostering collaboration and partnerships between communities and compassionate builders, developers and property managers, the NHI is helping promote and facilitate the construction of more inclusive and affirming homes for LGBTQ+ elders.
How does the National Housing Initiative benefit builders?
The housing development process is multifaceted and involves a range of stakeholders. For builders interested in developing LGBTQ+-affirming affordable senior housing, meeting the needs of these stakeholders can be challenging.
SAGE’s National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative can support a builder's efforts with strategies and guidance for:
Community engagement with LGBTQ+ community-based organizations to understand how to bring this project to life and to learn more about best practices.
Partnership building in your community, including elected officials, community boards, community residents, community organizations and religious or social institutions.
Site acquisition supported by research, community feedback sessions, and planning processes for things like building rehab.
Construction & intentional design for considerations like accessibility and age-friendly design in the physical infrastructure of each building.
Securing capital through creative fundraising campaigns focused on government sources, such as the New York City Council, and on private foundations.
Establishing local buy-in to gain trust from community members of the desired development neighborhood.
Overall, SAGE’s National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative can help support builders through all steps of the process, provide technical assistance, and serve as a national resource.
How have Builders Experienced Success Working with the NHI?
Through the National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative, SAGE has assisted with the building of the nation's largest affordable LGBTQ+-welcoming housing developments for elders, including 228 new housing units in New York City alone.
In addition, SAGE has worked with stakeholders across the country to support the development of affordable, LGBTQ+-affirming housing options in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinatti, Philadelphia and beyond.
Ultimately, the financial tools and products used to create LGBTQ+-affirming developments are no different from those utilized in producing traditional affordable multi-family developments.
The key ingredient that makes these projects unique are the services and engagement strategies of residents to create a welcoming environment and a sense of community, and that's what SAGE helps builders work toward throughout the construction process.
Ready to Start Building?
LGBTQ+ elders have faced a lifetime of discrimination and socioeconomic inequities that are further exacerbated by the complexities of aging.
Currently estimated at approximately 3 million people, the LGBTQ+ elder population is estimated to grow to 7 million by 2030. That means the need for LGBTQ+-affirming housing will only continue to grow into the future, and builders need to be ready to help communities meet that demand effectively.
By utilizing innovative approaches to couple LGBTQ+-affirming housing with culturally competent services, communities across the country are paving a new aging path for LGBTQ+ elders.
Through the National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative, SAGE is committed to helping developers replicate successful LGBTQ+-friendly housing models, meet the specific requirements of their local communities and develop LGBTQ+-affirming housing affordably and effectively.
Download a copy of our National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative Starter Guide for more information on how you can get started with the National LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Initiative today!