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SCDC Citywide Survey a Great Success!

The Stonewall Community Development Corporation (SCDC) is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed a groundbreaking citywide survey of LGBTQ+ older adults and their housing needs that helps pave the way for a more humane, effective approach to this critical issue.

“The results are thrilling and of extraordinary importance as we work to resolve the current crisis in senior LGBTQ+ housing and safety,” stated SCDC Executive Director Paul Nagle, “They confirm the senior LGBTQ+ community’s overwhelming interest in and need for an enhanced approach to what can be literally a life or death issue.”

SCDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating LGBTQ+-friendly, supportive, affordable senior housing and successful aging in place options in New York City.

Nagle thanked the Altman Foundation for its generous funding and the City of New York for its strong support of this project, with contributions of both funding and outreach assistance.

LGBTQ+ older adults responded in much larger numbers than anticipated, far surpassing the original target goal of 500 completed surveys. Responses from 966 people are included in the analysis and 775 completed the survey fully.

SCDC contracted with the Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, a research firm with nine years of experience working with LGBTQ+ communities, for survey design, data collection and analysis. Whenever possible, the survey design drew on validated questions and city-defined criteria for affordable housing. Stakeholders in city government, financing experts, developers and nonprofit organizations (including those working in the field of housing for special populations), social service providers and those who had secured LGBTQ+ housing for older adults in other states all contributed to the survey

In order to achieve the most accurate results possible from a broad cross-section of the senior LGBTQ+ community, SCDC built a outreach network of service providers, community-based organizations, government agencies and elected officials and their offices. They worked closely with Lead Collaborator, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE), to recruit a diverse group of LGBTQ+ seniors to take part in the survey. The sample included more than a quarter people of color and nearly 5% transgender and gender nonconforming older adults.

This survey builds on SAGE’s groundbreaking work, which has established through extensive national research that LGBTQ+ seniors face unique challenges in accessing adequate and appropriate senior housing services.

The SCDC survey creates a NYC-specific market profile for this vulnerable population which will inform a potential road map for creating innovative housing opportunities and related service provision in which LGBTQ+ seniors will be both willing and able to participate.

This historic survey marks the first-ever collection of comprehensive data of this type from nearly 1,000 LGBTQ+ older adults living in all five boroughs of New York City. It includes information about their economic situation, living conditions, health status, insurance and benefits coverage, and housing and amenities preferences. A full analysis and report of all the data will be available in August, 2017.

Some initial findings include:

LGBTQ+ older adults are desirable tenants, particularly for diverse, mixed model developments

  • LGBTQ+ Seniors want a culturally competent environment. Nearly two thirds of respondents (63.8%) would prefer that onsite services be run by an LGBTQ+ organization. 57.8% would prefer that at least half of the residents were LGBTQ+.

  • Incomes are either quite low or quite high on the AMI (Area Median Income) scale. There is little middle ground. 39.2% of respondents made less than 50% of the AMI. 39.4% of respondents made over 80% AMI with 32.5% of those making over 100% AMI.

  • NYC LGBTQ older adults are highly educated. More than seven in ten respondents, 71.9% are college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Another 5.0% have achieved an Associate’s Degree. 17.4% had some college, university or technical training, but no degree.

LGBTQ+ older adults are in the market for affordable, safe and stable housing

  • Aging in place is important to LGBTQ+ older adults, yet many anticipate needing to leave their current housing for financial or health and safety reasons:.Five in six (84.6%) respondents wanted to stay in their current housing for the next five years or more, yet more than half (57.7%) of respondents said they are likely to leave current housing for a financial or health or safety reason.

  • Housing costs make up a disproportionate amount of LGBTQ+ seniors’ monthly income. Nearly half (48.2%) spend more than a third of their income on housing, and almost a quarter (24.3%) of respondents are spending more than half of their income on housing.

  • LGBTQ+ seniors live in substandard housing: More than three quarters (77.0%) of respondents reported living in substandard housing, which included conditions such as lacking heat or hot water, the absence of smoke detectors or the presence of lead paint.

  • Trans and gender nonconforming older adults feel unsafe in their neighborhoods: Almost two in five (39.4%) trans and gender nonconforming respondents said their felt concerned or very concerned about their safety in the neighborhood where they currently live.

SCDC will use this information to create evidence-based responses to the looming housing crisis that awaits the City as “baby boomers” continue to age in, expanding the NYC “senior citizen” demographic by an estimated 40% over the next 20 years.

According to SCDC Executive Director Paul Nagle, “Without surveys and other field work, we are only guessing and extrapolating about this LGBTQ+ older adult population, which is, still for the most part, invisible statistically. With this data, we will be able to develop statistical rather than solely anecdotal evidence of the extent of the problem; we have the basis on which to begin to develop a city-wide strategy to resolve it.”

SCDC Thanks those who provided financial support for the survey Altman Foundation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Council Citywide Initiatives, NYC Councilmember Danny Dromm, NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman, NYC CouncilmemberJimmy Vacca

SCDC thanks our community outreach partners, Lead Collaborator: SAGE and its borough community centers (Bronx, Griot Circle, Harlem, Midtown, Staten Island Pride Center); American Veterans for Equal Rghts NY, Bright Point Health, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), Brooklyn Community Pride Center, CK Life, Callen Lourde, Community Health of Staten Island, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, Destination Tomorrow, DoSomething.org (LGBT Group), Gay Men of African Descent, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Harlem Pride, Imperial Court of NY, In the Life Ministries, Marble Collegiate Church, Stonewall Democratic Club, Queens Center for Gay Seniors, Translatina Network, Transpac, Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

SCDC thanks the following NYC and NYS Agencies and elected officials for their outreach help NYS Office for the Aging, NYS AM Matt Titone, NYC Department for the Aging, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiens, NYC Health & Hospitals, NYC Department of Veterans Services, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYC Council members - Leads CM Margaret Chin (Chair, Committee on Aging) and CM Rosie Mendez (Chair, LGBT Caucus)

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