Anchor Hanover / Older LGBT+ people's needs

What was the issue?

Older LGBT+ people’s housing and care needs aren’t always met, with the result being that they refrain from disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity when accessing services due to a fear of discrimination, stigma and harassment.

It can mean they’re more likely to live alone and have less contact with other people than the general population, leading to greater risk of loneliness and isolation.[1]

The 'No Place Like Home?' report highlighted:

  • A third of LGBT+ social housing residents felt their neighbourhood was not a safe place to live
  • A fifth of gay men modify their home if their landlord or a repairs contractor visit
  • A third felt their housing provider was not dealing effectively with harassment
  • Half of survey respondents reported feeling lonely and didn’t feel a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood

Overall LGBT+ people want their housing provider to be more proactive when it comes to inclusion and to be openly LGBT+ supportive. [2]

What did you do?

We piloted LGBT+ inclusion at housing scheme level. The idea was to develop a scheme that would be LGBT+ inclusive, not exclusive – with the aim of seeing an increase in the proportion of LGBT+ people living at the scheme. Through the scheme, we would explore how we could raise awareness among colleagues and residents, encourage diverse activities and build relationships with LGBT+ organisations.

We choose Brighton and Hove for our New Larchwood scheme because of the higher proportion of LGBT+ people living in the city, as well as its reputation for being trans-friendly and inclusive.

A coordinated programme of communication, marketing and learning and development has seen:

  • LGBT+ trans, and domestic abuse awareness training delivered to local Anchor Hanover colleagues and on-site partners
  • The development of a new in-house LGBT+ awareness workshop
  • Scheme marketing leaflet updated to include information relevant to LGBT+ residents, such as more diverse images and mention of LGBT+ inclusion
  • LGBT+ posters and leaflets available on EDI noticeboard, as well as more diverse information in the scheme newsletter
  • Complaints, anti-social behaviour and EDI statement of intent available on noticeboards - highlighting our policies and processes addressing potential discrimination
  • Events organised to mark key dates, such as Stonewall’s 30th birthday
  • Reviewing communal areas to ensure trans-inclusive signage
  • Nurse practitioner at on-site surgery has attended specialist training about hormone treatment for trans people, as well as the practice displaying health information relevant to LGBT+ patients

Who did you engage with?

  • LGBTQ Switchboard
  • Brighton & Hove City Council
  • On-site partners - care, catering, community café, cleaning, GP Surgery
  • Local author Jane Traies who has a PhD from Sussex University exploring ‘The Lives of Older Lesbians’
  • MindOut
  • Clare Project
  • Older and Out Project at Somerset Day Centre, Brighton

What was the impact?

  • The percentage of residents identifying as LGBT+ at New Larchwood has doubled (5% to 10%). We expect this figure to continue to increase.
  • Increase in wellbeing for all residents, including LGBT+. We have completed Independent Living Outcomes to evaluate the changes
  • Established clear connections with local LGBT+ organisations to be better equipped to signpost our residents to LGBT+-specific support
  • Positive media coverage, including publicity in Diva Magazine.

What barriers, challenges or points of learning did you identify?

  • Inappropriate comments from a resident resistant to the promotion of LGBT+ services and events. Senior colleagues promptly met the resident to discuss acceptable behaviour so the issue didn’t escalate. We have recently reviewed our ASB procedures which support this
  • Colleague turnover. Refresher training put in place to ensure continuity of approach over time.
  • Ensuring consistent monitoring of sexual orientation, gender identity and trans status to adhere to best practice guidance.

[1] Stonewall Housing (2016) Building Safe Choices

[2] No Place Like Home?, House Proud & University of Surrey, 2017

Find out more or get in touch with the team at Anchor Hanover here.

Who to speak to

Joe Waters, Public Affairs Manager