Our research

From our review of research reports published over the previous 20 years, as well as our conversations with current experts, a number of consistent themes emerge:

  • there are diverse views about whether people would prefer LGBT-specific housing, or whether they would prefer for mainstream, integrated housing with a clear understanding of LGBT people’s needs;
  • there is a desire for choice in finding suitable housing and support provision;
  • home is particularly important for the older LGBT generation, many of whom have grown up not feeling safe in the outside world: for them, their home has been the one consistent safe and private space in their lives;
  • many older LGBT people have a fear of isolation.

As part of our research methodology, we hosted an online discussion forum, inviting comments and opinions from a range of experts. Our questions about the evidence of need for older LGBT housing provoked numerous responses, including those shown below.

What do you think? How do we evidence the need for older LGBT housing? Do we want LGBT housing? And what steps should housing providers take towards ensuring that their housing is accessible to older LGBT people?

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I am not sure that need is a very helpful concept. I would want housing that is affordable and services that are appropriate to my identity, lifestyle and aware of the issues that may arise from the discrimination I experience or have experienced – either as a result of income or sexuality.
I do believe that service providers will require reminding that anti-gay discrimination is something that is still with us and has not been banished to a pre-gay marriage past. Capturing the voices and experiences of people currently receiving services is an important source of data and establishes the need for further action.

  2. There are so many things that organisations can do. 
It starts with monitoring (sensitively and transparently), and with fostering an inclusive organisational culture. In practice that means ensuring that staff are trained effectively to ensure that every policy, publication and person in their interactions with customers on any level, in any part of the business, are inclusive. That means using language sensitively, listening to people (especially when they express pronoun preferences), and working hard to reflect an understanding and appreciation of the particular vulnerabilities that some LGBT+ people experience.
At the other end, it means that services are co-designed and co-created to reflect the preferences and needs of older LGBT+ people, and inclusion is so embedded within an organisational culture that it is no longer dependent on the presence of one or a group of LGBT+ staff/equality, diversity and inclusions staff to ensure its longevity.
The answer is training, training, and then more training for staff, right across whole organisations.

  3. With an ageing population there is surely a space for lots of different options. There needs to be LGBT housing, L housing, G housing, women only, men only, T housing etc… Also non-LGBT housing that is responding to LGBT lives. How we make this happen is a different matter. 
I think it is important to remember that there is a difference between a housing product(s), care and support product(s) and housing, care and support product(s) and we need to be clear not just what the need/demand are for these but how they will be paid for. This should drive future consideration about how to make it happen.

  4. We do need to remember that need doesn’t necessarily drive supply in the world of housing, care and support. It is demand and willingness to pay that drive supply. There can be lots of need out there but if no-one is willing to pay to meet them then this is no supply. We should focus a little less on the ‘needs’ debate.

  5. Yes, there should be LGBT+ only housing options for people. In the first instance, there is a real challenge to demonstrate to housing providers that there is a sufficient market for accommodation which is gender-specific within the LGBT+ umbrella. There is the possibility however, that once the market space for LGBT+ housing has been demonstrated, there will be scope within that for organisations to offer particularly specialised options, such as accommodation restricted by gender. 
My sense is that this is a journey which we need to take the housing sector on, and though it would be great to jump straight to the end-game where L,G,B and T people could choose exactly where, how, and with whom they would like to live, it may be necessary to ‘travel through the grey’ before we reach that point.

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