The rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ2S community have come a long way since decriminalization in 1969, but discrimination still exists today. LGBTQ2S seniors experience a variety of challenges and discrimination when searching for housing. This includes ageism, often leaving them without support and housing that meets their needs.
The Innovative Housing for LGBTQ2S Seniors Solutions Lab intends to identify housing solutions that support the unique needs of LGBTQ2S seniors. It proactively welcomes them into the broader community. The Lab’s proposed solution is a co-living apartment that combines micro-suites for independent living with community gathering common areas to promote safe social activities.
3 Key Findings
Co-develop a housing framework that provides LGBTQ2S seniors with a safe and secure living environment which can be replicated across Canada.
Create opportunities for LGBTQ2S seniors to experience community interaction while reducing the risk of social isolation and invisibility in broader society.
Investigate ways to expand the communal living experience for seniors across Canada.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Increasing community inclusion
Acceptance of the LGBTQ2S community over the past decades has in some ways created a blind spot for the needs of seniors who are part of this community. After a lifetime of living with discrimination, many LGBTQ2S seniors still struggle with isolation and identity. While social acceptance has significantly improved, traditional views within their generation continue to be a challenge. This creates challenges for seniors in their journey of finding supportive and stable living environments.
There are housing models and options that can provide the circumstances and supports that these community members need to thrive. This Lab will demonstrate that there is an opportunity to bring seniors together. It proposes a micro-suite-style apartment complex with community spaces throughout to encourage community involvement with safe spaces and activities to support gentle integration. This solution prevents the social isolation of LGBTQ2S seniors within their broader community while addressing the need to create a safe and comfortable living environment.
The Lab has in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase includes project planning, stakeholder mapping and will identify the unique needs of LGBTQ2S seniors. This phase refines the problem's focus and provides the scope for the remainder of the project.
- The Discovery Phase includes research to understand the lived experiences of LGBTQ2S seniors and the organizations that currently serve them. This phase will map current practices and service provider sites. This will help to better understand the pain points that LGBTQ2S seniors experience in their housing journey.
- In the Development Phase Lab participants will establish a baseline of understanding or key challenges from the information gathered in Phase 2. This will be done through a collaborative process. The participants will focus on the lived experience of LGBTQ2S seniors and the tension points identified in the system.
- In the Prototype and Test Phase, Lab participants will build the project prototypes. LGBTQ2S seniors will be invited to interact with the prototypes and provide feedback on them. This process will investigate the viability of the ideas and organize their application. Preference will be given to ideas with the highest potential for community impact.
- The Roadmap Phase includes the creation of communication materials and an implementation plan. The roadmap phase will set the project up for success with key actions. It’ll also outline roles and responsibilities and create a guide for the project to be implemented in Edmonton and across Canada.
Sharing findings, designs and the roadmap
A central part of the Lab is sharing the findings, design and roadmap. These findings will be shared through:
- a Lab website
- a monthly e-newsletter
- a podcast series
- a community workshop
- a series of infographics to visually demonstrate the experience of LGBTQ2S seniors
The goal is to create accessible and empathetic guides to implement the Lab in other communities across Canada.
- Yasushi Ohki – Green Violin Community Development Company
- John Lewis – Intelligent Futures
- Michael Phair – Pride Seniors
- Cassandra Caiger – Intelligent Futures
- Mark Anielski – Anielski Inc.
- Bob Ligertwood – Cyber Naked Café
- Dr. Emily Milne – MacEwan University
Get More Information:
Visit the National Housing Strategy’s Innovation page.
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.