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Spectacular Success for First-ever Citywide Survey of LGBTQ+ Older Adults’ Housing Needs

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2017

A complete report and analysis will be available in August, 2017. Anyone can receive a free electronic copy when it is released by signing up at www.StonewallCDC.org

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 LGBTQ+ older adult 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, affordable and supportive 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 older adult LGBTQ+ community, SCDC built an 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.

“This survey data is of vital importance to our work to ensure that all LGBTQ elders in New York City have an affordable and welcoming place to live,” remarked Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “SAGE congratulates SCDC for its outstanding leadership and unique contribution to our shared cause.”

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 that group 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.

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.”

“When it comes to housing in New York City, LGBTQ seniors face considerable and unique challenges,” said NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “I commend the Stonewall Community Development Corporation for taking action to fully understand and address these challenges through collecting nearly 1000 responses on the living conditions, needs, and concerns of LGBTQ+= seniors in every borough. Because of this good work, we are able to develop a more informed plan of action to realize truly compassionate and affordable housing for all seniors in the LGBTQ community."

"By bringing visibility to LGBTQ seniors, this data will help law makers and service providers meet their needs," said openly-gay NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "I have always said that invisibility is the LGBTQ community's greatest enemy. This survey helps us fight back against the Trump administration and others who seek to drive the community back into the closet. I am proud to support the Stonewall Community Development Corporation as they lead this important effort. I remain committed to serving our LGBTQ seniors in every way possible."

NYC Council Member Rory Lancman said, “The completion of the first-ever Citywide survey of LGBTQ seniors’ housing needs is an important milestone in the effort to address this ongoing crisis. LGBTQ seniors face unique challenges in securing affordable and safe housing, and these results will enable New York City to work with stakeholders to find solutions. I commend the Stonewall Community Development Corporation for undertaking this critical survey and look forward to reading the full report in August.”

“As our community ages, we must be able to evaluate what services and accommodations we will need going forward,” said Council Member James Vacca. “The Stonewall Development Corporation embarked on a comprehensive study to evaluate the needs of LGBTQ seniors. The data gained from the survey will provide us, as legislators, insights on how to move forward with housing-related public policy. I thank the SDC for their efforts and will continue to support their mission.”

“In 2014, the NYC Council funded an initiative proposed by Councilmember Ritchie Torres and supported by the LGBT Caucus to create a LGBT Senior Center in every borough because it is important that for seniors who wanted to be in an LGBT setting that they have the option of staying in their home borough and not have to commute to Manhattan if they couldn't or didn't want to. Our senior citizens and LGBT seniors, in particular, are living in vulnerable situations city-wide and it is important to know what additional obstacles the LGBT elderly population is facing. I applaud the work of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation and its lead collaborator Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in gathering over the targeted goal of 500 surveys from LGBT seniors. The amount of surveys and responses collected speak to the housing needs of LGBT seniors,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez, Chair, LGBT Caucus.

SCDC Thanks those who provided financial support for the survey

Altman Foundation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Council Citywide Speaker Initiatives, NYC Councilmember Daniel Dromm, NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman, NYC Councilmember Jimmy 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 Rights NY, Bright Point Health, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), Brooklyn Community Pride Center, CK Life, Callen Lorde, 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 Hygiene, 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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