Manchester has made plans to build the UK’s first extra care housing scheme for older LGBTQ+ people – offering independent apartments where staff and carers will be on-hand around the clock.
If planning is approved, 77 houses will be built with over 51% to be made available to LGBTQ+ folk aged 55 and older. Many who currently live in care home or extra care environments are afraid to be open about their identity for fear of homophobic treatment. Some have even described going back into the closet when accessing social care.
A recent report from the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, Housing, Ageing and Care, revealed that 74% of respondents would be more comfortable living in an extra care housing scheme catered toward LGBTQ+ people. They also shared that “59.4% of trans people in Manchester felt that not being able to access appropriate care that is ‘trans friendly’ was a concern for care in later life.”
Queer support organisation Stonewall also reported that three in five older LGBTQ+ people were not confident that support and social care services would be able to understand and meet their needs.
Secret Manchester quoted Councillor Bev Craig of Manchester City Council as saying, “For decades Manchester has been the champion of the LGBTQ+ community and it’s with a huge amount of pride that we are able to continue this commitment with the UK’s first LGBTQ+ extra care scheme.
“Older LGBTQ+ people tell us that as they grow older they can fear discrimination, particularly in relation to their care needs, and this scheme will offer access to care on-site, should you need it, while remaining completely independent. Many extra care residents still have jobs and have active lifestyles, but live in a welcoming and supportive community that allows them to grow older in a positive way.”
Craig continued, “Of course all extra care schemes are welcoming to LGBTQ+ people, but this particular scheme has a focus on LGBTQ+ people to meet specific care needs and to offer an understanding and open space where the community can be sure they will not face discrimination or prejudice for their sexuality or gender identity. Alongside this flagship scheme, we are working to make sure that we tackle discrimination in community, care home and care service settings.”
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