One in eight lesbian, gay and bisexual adults and one in four transgender adults in the U.S. say they have experienced housing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Housing is one of the greatest financial challenges, and correspondingly one of the greatest worries, for this invisible and highly vulnerable population. The vast majority of LGBT affirming neighborhoods, businesses, churches, and service organizations remain centrally located to Montrose and the surrounding areas. However, the lack of affordable housing in Montrose has pushed many LGBT low-income seniors to seek more affordable, yet less community-centric, areas.
Marriage equality arrived too late for the majority of LGBT seniors. Being cut off from Social Security survivor benefits, pensions and health insurance has created a lifelong income gap for hardworking LGBT individuals who, as they have matured, are now more vulnerable to financial hardship, declining health and lack of familial support. LGBT elders are two times more likely to age alone and four times less likely to have assistance from families of origin. Adding to this isolation, many LGBT seniors feel invisible to the younger segment of their own communities.
Caring for LGBT seniors is not exclusively an LGBT issue; it’s a human issue.
The Montrose Center is committed to the development of an LGBT-affirming, affordable, senior-housing community. This project will serve as the cornerstone of the comprehensive approach to support the most at-risk LGBT seniors—individuals and couples whose limited financial resources force them to choose between housing, food or medications. These are choices that could result in chronic or terminal illness, debilitating depression, or homelessness.
Our vision is that LGBT elders will be able to age in place with dignity and pride in a stable, safe and affirming community, with access to specialized services and support, including:
The potential impact for LGBT seniors includes reduced social isolation, increased independence, improved mental health outcomes and a decrease in health disparities. The complex will feature one- and two-bedroom, independent living apartments for low-income seniors age 62+, with rents adjusted based on individual/couple income. Eligible seniors will pay no more than 30% of their income for rent. The Center and partners have engaged LGBT seniors in focus groups to determine the features and amenities that are important to them, such as:
With your support, the Montrose Center will ensure that LGBT elders can age in a safe and affirming environment with dignity, independence and a sense of community.