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Policy, Advocacy & Outreach

Policy, Advocacy & Outreach

Policy, Advocacy

& Outreach

Mary’s House for Older Adults is both a physical construction project to build an inclusive senior living community in Southeast DC and an advocacy organization interested in advancing local and national policies that support LGBT/SGL Elders. The vision of Dr. Imani Woody is communal living housing that is LGBTQ/SGL-friendly – is an affordable, independent housing facility that iswelcoming to those in the LGBTQ/SGL community as well as others.
C:\Users\cward\Downloads\18423986_862015420615204_6169612351898946837_n (1).jpg“By living in a place like Mary’s House for Older Adults, a person has the freedom to be who they are, living communally with others who are accepting.”
– Dr. Imani Woody, President & CEO

Key Challenges for LGBTQ/SGL Elders:

Affordability: Housing is not affordable for many older adults and elders, particularly those with low and moderate incomes. According to studies (cite reference), many LGBT/SGL Elders are poorer than their straight counterparts, particularly those who live alone. They’re half as likely to have health insurance, and two-thirds as likely to live alone.

Safety: LGBT/SGL Elders fear subtle and not so subtle discrimination in medical and social services, retirement homes, and assisted and long term care facilities.

Inclusivity: Many LGBT/SGL Elders fear discrimination, disrespect, or worse by health care workers and residents of elder housing facilities, ultimately leading many back into the closet after years of being open.

Support: LGBT/SGL Elders are also less likely to have biological family to help out with informal caregiving – either through estrangement or being childless – making them more dependent on outside services. Further, Black lesbians and gay males are at a further disadvantage with racism. That makes them more vulnerable and they cannot assume that they will be treated well or given the welcome mat.

Committee Activities in 2017:
2017 National LGBT/SGL Health Awareness Week | Mar 27 – 31, 2017
Mary’s House representatives were able to take part in the planning of the week and ensure housing as well as social determinants of health were included as part of the programming

ANC meeting | April 18, 2017
Mary’s House received 17 letters of support for the project to construct an inclusive housing facility in Southeast DC

DC Oversight Hearings:
Mary’s House representatives testified at several DC Oversight hearings relevant to LGBT/SGL elders and inclusive senior living
  • DC Council oversight Committee on housing and Neighborhood Revitalization (3 testified)
  • DC Council oversight committee on Housing (1 Testified)
  • Committee on Government Operation - Office of LGBT/SGLQ (3 Testified)
  • DC Council oversight Committee on housing and Neighborhood Revitalization -- DC Housing Authority (1 Testimony)

 Building a National LGBTQ Poverty Policy Agenda| May 23 - 24, 2016
Mary’s House representatives took part in a national conversation on how to address poverty in the LGBTQ/SGL community, looking at challenges of Elders and housing as a health issue.

Please reference the robust library of resources on LGBT/SGL Elders provided by SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay Lesbian Bisexual & Transgender Elders):

Committee Contact:

George S. Kerr III
Chair, Policy, Advocacy, and Outreach