GSBA encourages its members to contact the Seattle City Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) and advocate for funding on behalf of LGBT seniors. Below is the letter that GSBA sent to the Council.
November 9, 2015
To the members of the Seattle City Council,
The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), our region’s LGBT and allied chamber of commerce and the city’s largest organization representing small business, urges you to devote significant funding for LGBT seniors. Specifically, we urge you to fund the proposed budget item to develop and implement an evidence-based cultural capacity program for aging and health and human service professionals, as well as a peer/cross-generational support program for our socially isolated aging LGBT community.
Many LGBT older adults find that they are not able to obtain culturally relevant and appropriate services in Seattle. One in six fear obtaining services outside of the LGBT community, primarily due to having experienced stigma or discrimination from providers in the past. Such fear often leads to inconsistent health care access and decreased use of preventive services which we know ultimately leads to poorer health outcomes. Almost 45% of LGBT older adults live alone and are at serious risk of social isolation, which is linked to poorer health and premature mortality. Social support is crucial to both mental and physical health. LGBT older adults are less likely to be partnered or married and have fewer children and other cross-generational ties. They rely heavily on peers for support; yet, many of their peers face their own aging and health challenges.
Please support the proposed budget item to:
- Develop, implement and evaluate an evidence-based cultural capacity training program for aging and health and human service professional addressing unique risks, challenges, and strengths of LGBTQ older adults, families, and caregivers.
- Develop, pilot test and evaluate a tailored and evidence-based LGBTQ older adult peer and cross-generational support program to provide engagement, functional assistance, and support as well as one-stop information, resource and referral for LGBTQ older adults, families, caregivers, and providers in aging, health and human services.
Seattle is home to the second largest LGBT population in the country, after San Francisco and lags far behind other larger, progressive cities in funding LGBT-specific services. Los Angeles ($21 million), Philadelphia ($2 million), San Francisco (over $600,000 since 2010) and Minneapolis (over $500,000 since 2005) have all allocated significant funds for LGBT-specific senior care. It is past time for Seattle to step up as well.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
President & CEO