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Tonic Housing, Open Doors London and Stonewall Housing have undertaken an industry first piece of research to understand the specific housing, care and support needs of the older LGBT+ community in London.

The Building Safe Choices 2020 Report specifically highlights:

  • 75% of respondents want to stay in London in their later life 
  • Over 78% of respondents wanted an LGBT+ specific, or LGBT+ accredited retirement community option
  • Over 92% of respondents wanted more LGBT+ supportive housing options
  • Of respondents with disabilities, almost 4 in 10 said their current housing situation was not fit for their needs

The Building Safe Choices 2020 Report came about due to the recognition that LGBT+ people have concerns about their safety and wellbeing as they approach their later years. They want reassurance that they will be treated with respect and dignity and be in a safe and comfortable environment where they can be themselves. 

In the UK there is currently no purpose-built housing for the older LGBT+ community yet 56% of respondents said they would like to live in a LGBT+ specific scheme and 23% in a general scheme accredited by a LGBT+ standard. This overwhelming evidence is consistent regardless of the current housing and financial situation highlighting the demand for this type of accommodation is not dependent on the socio-economic background of the respondents. 

It is not only the current lack of provision of housing for the older LGBT+ community that has been brought to light but the advice and support available. The majority of respondents would like to see more advice available, more community space, increased awareness of social events and advice on care options. On the subject of the care required in the home, 89% felt that whether now or in the future, an LGBT+ specific or accredited provider would be most preferable. 

The report.

Whilst this study was focussed on 624 London residents, it is believed that some of the key statistics and trends will be mirrored in other areas. Rather than wanting to move away, less than a quarter of those asked have a desire to leave London specifying good transport links, an existing LGBT+ presence, where their friends live and where they feel safe motivating their decision. City life should still be a viable option for the older LGBT+ community which is something Tonic Housing, Stonewall Housing and Open Doors London are keen to pressurise public bodies to act upon.

The key outcomes that have been uncovered from this study and public bodies should be aware of are:

  • Formally recognise the needs of older LGBT+ people in policy and practice
  • Co-design a pathway to enable older LGBT+ people to access appropriate services and housing
  • Commit to developing LGBT+ affirming housing in London
  • Promote LGBT+ accredited housing and care services
  • Fund LGBT+ community led services for older people

Tonic, Stonewall Housing and Opening Doors London (ODL) jointly carried out this research to better understand the housing, care and support requirements of older LGBT+ people in London. The common ambition is to see that older LGBT+ people, whatever their history and background, are able to make choices about their housing, care and support from a range of safe and appropriate options. 

Tonic, Stonewall Housing and Opening Doors London Housing have captured the voices of older LGBT+ Londoners and their demand for recognition and better housing and support choices to meet the community’s needs in later life.

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Sarah Canning

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