This viewpoint sets out a variety of ways in which the voices and needs of the older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities can be included in the development and provision of inclusive housing with care.
Written for the Housing Learning and Improvement Network by Tina Wathern, Older LGBT Housing Group Co-ordinator, Stonewall Housing.
Stonewall Housing has been providing services to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) community of all ages since 1983 and in the last two years has seen a marked increase in the number of older LGBT people requiring housing/care advice.
We believe that the needs of the older LGBT communities are often overlooked in housing and care planning and consequently many older LGBT people feel they have limited choice in the care options that are available.
Reflecting on some of the current legislative framework and the Government’s recent housing strategy, Laying the Foundations: a national housing strategy for England, whose fundamental premise is one of personalisation, choice and control, we feel it’s important to develop inclusive models of housing with care and support provision where older LGBT communities can feel secure enough to be open about their life stories.
Stonewall’s research into the experiences and expectations of older LGBT people found that three in five respondents were not confident that social care and support services, like paid carers or housing services, would understand or be sensitive to their needs. Half said they would be uncomfortable coming out to care home staff and one third said they would be uncomfortable being out to a housing provider.
 Laying the Foundations, (Nov 2011) Department for Communities and Local Government