Calamus Foundation Awards $1 Million for LGBT Elder Housing

Making a major investment to advance anti-discrimination protections for the growing number of older LGBT Americans, The Calamus Foundation of New York has awarded SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) $1 million to expand its national LGBT Elder Housing Initiative, launched in early 2015 to combat widespread discrimination against LGBT older adults in senior housing.

This path-breaking initiative was launched by SAGE in response to a research report last year documenting widespread discrimination against LGBT people seeking admission to or living in senior housing. The initiative engages consumers, providers, and policymakers to increase access to and create understanding and welcoming environments in housing for LGBT older people.

“As a long-time supporter, The Calamus Foundation of New York is proud once again to partner with SAGE to ensure LGBT people can age with dignity and have equal access to supportive housing and care as all other Americans,” said Louis Bradbury, Board President of The Calamus Foundation.

LGBT older people are currently faced with a nationwide housing crisis. A national research report published by the Equal Rights Center in 2014, with support from SAGE, found that 48% of older same sex couples applying for senior housing were subjected to discrimination. The effects of this rampant discrimination are further exacerbated by the fact that LGBT older people have lower incomes and less retirement savings than older Americans in general.

“SAGE is grateful for and inspired by this extraordinary grant from Calamus to eradicate housing discrimination against LGBT older people and ensure that our LGBT elder pioneers have access to housing where they are welcomed for who they are,” said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. “Empowered by this anchor funding, SAGE’s national LGBT elder housing initiative will lead the way in addressing this housing crisis. We look forward to working with Calamus and SAGE’s other partners to bring this discrimination to an end.”

SAGE’s national LGBT elder housing initiative takes action by:

• Building LGBT-affirming senior housing in select cities
• Training senior housing providers in fair and welcoming treatment of LGBT older people
• Changing public policy to end housing discrimination against LGBT older people and expand federal support LGBT-inclusive elder housing
• Equipping LGBT older people with the resources they need to find— and advocate for—LGBT-friendly housing in all its forms
• Expanding services that support LGBT older people who face housing challenges.

SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 27 local SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.

Francois Merlet