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The LGBTQ Senior Housing Project

Nearly half of same-sex couples (48%) have experienced housing discrimination (SAGE USA 2019).1 LGBTQ older adults are also twice as likely to live alone and four times less likely to have children than their non-LGBTQ peers,2 which can reduce housing options after experiencing discrimination or when needing to transition to age-friendly housing. LGBTQ older adults also experience greater health and economic disparities compared to non-LGBTQ peers,3 which can further reduce housing options. As revitalization projects grow in Detroit, housing options have dwindled for LGBTQ older adults. This project stems from an LGBTQ senior housing coalition that formed six months ago to address a huge unmet service need in the Detroit metro region: affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors. The community coalition includes eight LGBTQ organizations: SAGE Metro Detroit, Detroit Elder Project, Affirmations, LGBT Detroit, Transgender Michigan, GNA, Trans Sistas of Color, and Corktown Health Center. To identify next steps, the coalition plans to create and disseminate a community needs assessment to LGBTQ older adults in Southeast Michigan to identify current and future housing needs. While this coalition is new, the LGBTQ community organizations involved have worked together for years on various projects. Some organizations have worked with researchers at the University of Michigan on community-based projects. However, none of them have worked with researchers from the University of Michigan on LGBTQ housing, and the coalition is eager to develop a new partnership with community-based researchers to help gather and analyze data on current and future housing needs within an LGBTQ aging community in Southeast Michigan. Few national, state, or local surveys collect information to assess the needs of LGBTQ older adults—and more recently, federal initiatives have aimed to remove data collection for LGBTQ communities. Stripping LGBTQ communities from data collection dramatically impacts funding and services for this community. Through this grant, this coalition of LGBTQ organizations can build new and strengthen current relationships with University of Michigan researchers by gathering pilot data through a community needs assessment on housing. This community-based partnership will also ensure that data collection will occur in an ethically responsible manner by including diverse voices from LGBTQ communities in Southeast Michigan, which will further facilitate a more sustaining partnership moving forward.

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