Tag Archives: Housing

Palm Springs LGBT Assisted Living

lgbt-senior-livingStonewall Gardens, a 24-unit assisted living facility in Palm Springs, CA, is expected to begin taking LGBT (and LGBT-friendly) residents in late July or early August.

The bungalow-style facility will include 20 studio units and 2 one-bedroom apartments, plus “two shared apartments as living quarters,” all converted from a boutique hotel formerly known as the Desert Moon.  Potential residents will need to pass a health care assessment by a visiting nurse and a financial review.  Entrance fees start at $3,500, with monthly fees beginning at $3,850.  Three meals a day will be available.  You can get more information and apply at www.stonewallgardens.com

The Shape of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Elders

lgbt-senior-livingJust when some people suggest that discrimination against lesbian and gay people is a thing of the past, along comes a report that proves otherwise.

“Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same Sex Couples,” (available at http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/DocServer/Senior_Housing_Report.pdf?docID=2361) is a 2014 report by The Equal Rights Center.  They conducted 200 tests across 10 states in order to see if same-sex couples seeking housing in independent living facilities (as well as some continuing care and assisted living facilities that include independent living units) were treated the same as opposite-sex couples seeking housing.

They found that in 60% of the calls they made between April and November 2013, the “family member” seeking housing for an older relative and their same-sex spouse received adverse, disparate treatment from the “family member” seeking housing for an older relative and their opposite-sex spouse.  Many times, it was the exact same rental agent giving the two callers different information.

How did the discrimination play out?

10% of the time, same-sex couples were told about fewer available units than opposite-sex couples.  This included telling same-sex couples there were no units available while opposite-sex couples were offered units, and offering only 2-bedroom units to same-sex couples requesting 1-bedroom units.

10% the rent quotes to the same-sex couple were at least $100 more than that quoted to the opposite-sex couple.  In six of those cases, the “heterosexual” prospective renter was offered a rental option that was $200 to $500 less.

21% of the time same-sex couples were asked for higher fees or deposits.

4.5% of the time the same-sex tester received significantly less information regarding available amenities than did the opposite-sex tester that spoke to that same agent.

5.5% of the time, the heterosexual tester was offered a special incentive to rent at the facility that was not offered the same-sex tester.

11% of the time, same-sex couples were told of additional application requirements — background checks, credit checks, proof of income, or a wait list — that were not discussed with heterosexual applicants.

It’s important to note, as the study report makes clear, “Housing discrimination does not just harm the targeted individual or couple, but hurts all of society.  Residents of senior housing facilities are denied the opportunity to live and learn in a diverse community; relatives and loved ones are more limited in the options available when assisted care is needed for their aging relatives; and non-seniors observe the stigma that may confront them in their retirement planning, dimming their prospects for a healthy, productive, optimistic retirement.”

Although the report makes various recommendations, it is interesting to note that whether or not the state explicitly outlawed housing discrimination against same-sex couples appeared to have little effect on how much disparate treatment couples in that state encountered:

State State prohibits LGB housing   discrimination % same-sex older couples treated less well % same-sex older couples treated less well in two or more ways
Arizona

No

80%

15%

Colorado

Yes

50%

10%

Florida

No

45%

10%

Georgia

No

70%

40%

Michigan

No

35%

5%

Missouri

No

45%

10%

New Jersey

Yes

40%

15%

Ohio

No

45%

5%

Pennsylvania

No

40%

10%

Washington

Yes

30%

5%

Overall

48%

12.5%

Suburban or Urban? Weighing the Choices

55-Laguna-Site-PlanLGBT-friendly retirement homes are still few and far between, but we are slowly getting to the point where there are actually choices to be made.  A recent post in “My Dad’s Closet: A Daughter’s Memoir,” examines the pros and cons of suburban-based LGBT retirement facilities like Fountaingrove Lodge in Sonoma County, CA, and urban-based ones like John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia and 55 Laguna, a development that’s under construction in San Francisco.

Read more about it at http://mydadscloset.com/elders-lgbt-and-others/

LGBT Elder Housing Opens in Philadelphia

SKY17-A56 new units for low-income LGBT elders have opened in Philadelphia, after years of planning, fundraising and construction.

The John C. Anderson “apartments are partnered with the nearby William Way LGBT Community Center to provide residents with counseling, programs and events.”  Rents range from $192 to $786 based on income, which can be no more than $33,000/year.  There is a waiting list for the lower-cost units, although about a dozen of the higher-cost units remain open at this time.

The Washington Post ran a video on the project as well as an article.  You can find both at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/affordable-housing-for-gay-seniors-opens-in-pa/2014/01/14/d3100f32-7ce7-11e3-97d3-b9925ce2c57b_story.html

More LGBT Elder Housing Going Up in Los Angeles

GLEHProgress is being made on a new 40-unit building to augment the very successful affordable senior housing development run by the Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing Los Angeles (GLEH).

The building, scheduled to open in 2014, will offer one to three-bedroom apartments for rents averaging between $200 and $800.  It will join Triangle Square, which has 104 units and opened its doors on March 22, 2007.  For more information, go to http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2013/02/a-new-place-to-call-home/

Jakarta Home for Aging Trans “Waria”

Yulianus RettoblautYulianus Rettoblaut, 51 and the first transgender person to earn a law degree from an Islamic university, has opened her home to other aging Indonesian “waria,” according to an article and video available at http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/20/worlds-first-home-for-transgender-elderly/

Waria combines the Indoensian word for woman (wanita) and the word for man (pria).  Between 3 and 12 waria live at the home (the video and article contradict each other), with as many as 800 on a waiting list.  Government funds will provide some food subsidies, while 70 churches are said to provide some support (mostly shelter during floods).

The 7-minute video interviews Rettoblaut and several of her residents and includes stories about her brother’s rejection and ultimate reconciliation.  The article also address opposition from the Islamic Defenders Front.

Lesbian Widow Explains It All

handsThe Huffington Post has produced a 20-minute video, “Retirement Home-ophobia,” that gives a great overview of LGBT housing issues, including interviews with several LGBT elders and housing providers.

But what makes the piece invaluable is a quote from widow Alice Herman that starts around minute 9:20.  Talking about the recent loss of her life-partner, she said, “All that made me real was my history.  I had a 45-year history of love.  And if I couldn’t talk about it, share it, where was my life?”

There, in a nutshell, is why LGBT-affirming services are so critical.  Check it out at http://live.huffingtonpost.com/#r/segment/elderly-gays%3B-lgbt-nursing-homes/51140a38fe344437520001da

Homesharing for LGBT Older Adults

housingThe Huffington Post has published an article giving advice to older LGBT people considering sharing a home with others:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/gay-seniors-housing_n_2664916.html

The article notes that the Center on Halsted in Chicago is the first known program focused on LGBT people, started in 2010.   So far, they have matched 11 home- or lease-owners with roommates.

Two informally-arranged homesharing arrangements are also addressed, along with advice on how to draw up documents to legally protect everyone.

LGBT Senior Housing Advances

Construction began on two new LGBT senior housing developments this fall: Spirit on Lake, a 46-unit development in Minneapolis, and an 80-unit development close to Center on Halsted in Chicago.

For information on the Chicago project, see http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/12/19/lgbt-senior-housing

For information on Spirit on Lake, including pictures of the evolving construction site, see their Facebook page.

2012 Genny Awards Announced

Stu Maddux, the producer of the acclaimed LGBT aging documentary, Gen Silent, has issued his 2012 Genny Awards to recognize the year’s most important changes towards a greater quality of life for LGBT older people.

From his website (http://stumaddux.com/gen_silent_Gennys_Ballot.html?utm_source=CONTACT+FORMS+AS+OF+120412&utm_campaign=b1d0c2bfa3-Gennys_Announcement_12_26_2012&utm_medium=email) Continue reading