Affordable LGBT-Friendly Elder Housing Answers Growing Need

In 2013, Lamar Jackson, who is gay, was living in a senior apartment building in Chicago when he began hearing hostile remarks from other tenants about gay marriage. “There was a lot of homophobia,” he says. “It was really a nightmare.” In his 60s, Jackson found himself back in the closet, fearful of revealing his sexual orientation. Searching for Home: Despite being part of the generation who launched the gay liberation movement, Jackson is one of thousands who face renewed hostility and discrimination in housing as they grow older. Nationally, an estimated 1.5 million lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people are 65 or older, and that number is projected to double by 2030. Although affordable housing is a pressing need for many older adults, those who are LGBT often face particular challenges. “We know from our experience and from research that housing discrimination is rampant,” says Michael Adams, CEO of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). “We consistently hear from LGBT elders themselves that finding welcoming housing is one of the most difficult challenges they face.”