Housing for LGBT Elders

How and Why to Help Those Facing Homelessness

Mark SegalA January 18, 2013 Huffington Post article, “From Stonewall to Homeless: The Plight of Our Elder LGBT Members,” highlights the housing issues that face too many of the elderly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population.

Mark Segal, Publisher of the “Philadelphia Gay News” writes that even in a time of victories for the LGBT community, many of these members facing retirement age also face the possibility of homelessness.

Take for example, Donald’s situation,

“… Donald, who’s 62, a former teacher and long-time activist in the local LGBT community. Living on Social Security disability for the past 20 years, his arthritis and neuropathy make living alone in a third-floor Philadelphia walk-up — his only affordable option — more difficult by the day. This is Donald’s community; why shouldn’t he be able to live here with dignity in his golden years?”

Writing of those who came out during the 60s at the Stonewall Riots, which changed history for the LGBT population,

“So, now that our pioneers are seniors with little or no money, where are they to live? Must they go back into the closet to fit into a facility they can afford? Be stuck on the streets?”

Philadelphia offers a model solution to the problem that can hopefully be replicated in other communities across the country.

“ … Help is on the way for Dina, Donald and others like them. A few months back we broke ground on the John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia — LGBT-friendly low income senior housing. Financing for the $19.5 million project came from federal, state and city funds and will give our seniors a safe, accepting place to call home.” While this project helps our elders in Philadelphia and similar projects in LA, Chicago and San Francisco will help members of those communities, there’s still an entire country full of LGBT seniors facing housing issues.

Segal concludes,

“These are the people who grew what we now call a gay community … And now we, as their community, must take care of them. They shouldn’t have to scrap for food and a place to live every single day. They should be able to live out their years with comfort, dignity and acceptance — what they fought so hard to win for all of us.”

Click here for the full article.