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Project launched to improve housing and care options for older LGBT Manchester residents

Published: 17 June 2020 Tags: By Admin Silverchip

LGBT Foundation have today announced the launch of a new project, to better understand the housing and support needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people across Greater Manchester and involve them in local strategic planning. The year-long programme of work will help to understand how housing options for LGBT people aged 55+ can be improved, and will inform Manchester City Council’s future housing plans, including the country’s first LGBT affirmative Extra Care development at Russell Road in Whalley Range.

LGBT Foundation are delighted to have secured Bob Green as our consultant for this project. Bob is the former Chief Executive of Stonewall Housing, which has helped to create safe housing for LGBT people since 1983. An online survey, launched today, will gather information on the housing and care needs of the city’s residents, and inform the services, facilities, and housing options available to those eligible for the city’s first LGBT affirmative extra care scheme

In 2013, Manchester City Council commissioned research through LGBT Foundation that indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT older people, and a lack of specific affordable accommodation where they can be open about their identity later in life. This evidence has been backed up by LGBT Foundation’s recent research into the impact of Covid-19 on LGBT communities, which revealed that 40% of older LGBT people were living alone at this time, putting them at a higher risk of isolation, and that 8% of respondents currently felt unsafe where they were living.

The survey, which will run from 17th June-2nd August, has been part-funded by government housing agency Homes England and can be accessed here It can also be completed via a posted form, or over the phone. Respondents can choose to leave their details to be entered into a prize draw to win shopping vouchers.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, says:

“With the impact of the Covid-19 crisis now expected to last for a number of years, it is more important than ever that older LGBT people have access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel safe and welcome. Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life. The development of the LGBT extra care scheme at Whalley Range is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities”

Bob Green, Housing Consultant at LGBT Foundation for the LGBT Extra Care Scheme, says:

“I am delighted to be working with the LGBT Foundation on improving housing and care options for older LGBT people in Manchester. We are asking all older LGBT people to share their views with us about what they’d like to see from the UK’s first LGBT affirmative extra care scheme. The number of LGBT people over the age of 65 is expected to rise significantly in the next 20 years, and it’s crucial that there are housing options that meet their needs. We know that safety, and a sense of shared identity and community, can make a real difference to older people’s wellbeing, and that’s why this pioneering scheme is a huge landmark for the city.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s executive member for health and well-being, said:

“LGBT people have long been drawn to Manchester in the knowledge that the community here is strong and supported. However, we know that there is an issue with loneliness amongst older LGBT people in this city and a core reason for this is access to safe, affordable, and secure housing.

“As the number of older people in the city continues to grow, having a real understanding of what the community needs and wants from their extra care housing will be vital. Our partnership work with the LGBT Foundation is providing insight to help guide the principles of the UK's first LGBT Extra Care development in Whalley Range - the development of which will be tendered in the coming months - and it will also provide a benchmark that can underpin our strategy for wider investment in LGBT-focused supported housing in the future."