New housing schemes
During the study, we learnt a number of issues about new housing schemes:
- Older LGBT people want good quality, well designed housing, with access to care and support if it’s required. Unlike other older people, though, there is often a stronger emphasis on housing as part of community building, along with the importance of access to shared space for socialising and events, and links with local LGBT groups or communities.
- If a housing association or private developer wanted to develop a specialist older LGBT housing scheme, it’ll probably be as part of an larger development, for example, in a retirement village or downsizing scheme. This would enable LGBT residents to have the support of their own community, whilst blending into the wider community.
- Issues of security and safety are paramount. The location and design of any new scheme has to be accessible and welcoming, as well as safe and secure for tenants.
- When planning a scheme, developers should consider the location: ideally new schemes should be located close to other LGBT community and social facilities.
- New schemes should offer a range of tenures, including leasehold and rental. Although there can be tensions between owners and renters in some smaller mixed tenure schemes, our research highlighted that the shared common interests would overcome these divisions of tenure.
- Numerous research reports have highlighted the potential for leasehold products – mostly flats – for the older LGBT community. They should be a key component of any scheme provided for the older LBT community.
- Similarly, older LGBT housing schemes would benefit from innovative forms of housing, such as prefabricated housing. These are more flexible schemes that can be adapted to meet the requirements of different residents. See, for example, the Y:Cube scheme.
- Co-design is critical: older LGBT people would want to be involved in the development and design from an early stage of any potential housing scheme. They are also interested in exploring ways of retaining control over the management and ongoing delivery of a housing scheme.
- For local authorities, the allocation of new rental accommodation to older LGBT people from outside the area can be concerning, as it might result in increased pressures on support and care.
- As with other older people, affordability is an issue, both with regards to housing and to care costs.