For Immediate Release
Alexis Squire, Equal Rights Center, 202-370-3209
NEW ERC TOOLKIT EDUCATES OLDER LGBT INDIVIDUALS ON FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS
WASHINGTON, February 26, 2014—Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC) —a national non-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.— released a new toolkit to help older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults advocate for their right to housing.
“Despite the tremendous civil rights progress made by the LGBT community in this decade, discrimination remains a serious barrier to housing, particular for older LGBT adults,” said Melvina Ford, executive director of the Equal Rights Center. “This toolkit provides the knowledge and the tools needed for older LGBT adults to advocate for themselves in housing.”
Acquiring safe and affordable housing is a serious concern for older LGBT adults. In a 2014 survey, conducted by Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), 13 percent of LGBT adults aged 45-75 reported experiencing discrimination based on sexual orientation when seeking housing, and 25 percent of transgender respondents reported discrimination based on gender identity.
“When older LGBT individuals are denied equal opportunity in housing, it dramatically affects their abilities to live full and healthy lives as they age,” said Michael Adams, executive director at SAGE—the country’s largest national organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. “Education and self-advocacy are critical tools to help ensure that safe and affordable housing is accessible and available to all older people, regardless of their sexual orientations and gender identities.”
A testing investigation conducted by the ERC in 2014 confirmed the seriousness of this problem: 48 percent of older same-sex couples seeking independent living in a senior housing community were subjected to at least one type of adverse, differential treatment when compared with an opposite-sex couple seeking identical housing.
The Opening Doors Toolkit: Fair Housing Self-Advocacy for LGBT Seniors is a companion piece to the ERC’s 2014 civil rights testing investigation. This toolkit provides: an overview of the protections against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the federal Fair Housing Act, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule on Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity, and state and local fair housing ordinances. The toolkit also includes advocacy tips, what to do when encountering discrimination, and resources and references.
The ERC consulted with SAGE on the creation and release of this toolkit. The creation of this toolkit and its release were supported by a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation.
About the Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org)
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.
About Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) (www.sageusa.org)
Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.