Housing as a Determinant of Health for Older LGBT Canadians: Focus Group Findings from a National Housing Study

This article shares key focus group findings from a national study focused on the housing needs of older (55+) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Canadians. LGBT populations have and continue to face systemic discrimination and barriers to appropriate housing across the life course, and yet little attention has been given to solutions. Many older LGBT adults live alone, face poverty, and have limited familial supports which impact on their housing options. The purpose of this research was to examine how the housing needs of older LGBT Canadians are addressed at community, organizational, and policy levels. Focus group participants in five Canadian provinces were asked to describe their experiences and perceptions of safe, affordable, affirming housing for older LGBT people. Five themes from the data help guide housing providers and policymakers in improving housing for older LGBT Canadians: (a) understanding lifelong and evolving fears of discrimination among older LGBT populations, (b) recognizing diversity among older LGBT populations, (c) operationalizing LGBT-inclusive housing philosophies, (d) addressing isolation and exclusion through housing interventions, and (e) providing LGBT people with tools to access appropriate housing. These themes offer practical policy and programming approaches to address the housing needs and concerns of older LBGT Canadians.

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Housing and Society