Accommodation in Manchester to support older LGBTQ+ people has been given the go-ahead and will begin construction imminently. 

Manchester city council put out a tender for a scheme to build an “LGBT-affirmative extra-care scheme” in Whalley Range in the south of Manchester. A steering group comprised of eighteen LGBTQ+ members will help to develop the scheme. The accommodation plans to provide just over half (51%) of the 150 places are to LGBTQ+ people aged over 55, with additional physical or mental support needs. The extra-care housing hopes to provide safe homes for older LGBTQ+ people, many of whom have been experiencing intensified loneliness since the pandemic.

A report and housing survey by the Manchester-based LGBT Foundation illustrates the need for the LGBTQ+ extra-care housing scheme. 74% of people said that they want to have a home for their old age delivered by an LGBT-specific provider, but 43% had no idea where they could get such care and support in the future. Bill Moss, a retired prison officer, is one of the many hoping to find supported housing. As the only gay person in his sheltered flats in Salford, Bill feels isolated. He says: “I could do with having LGBT+ neighbours to have a chat with. It would allow me to be myself. There are things you don’t have to explain and things you can talk about that are impossible with straight listeners.” Moss, alongside other older members of Manchester’s 7,000-plus LGBTQ+ community, could soon see this hope become a reality. The construction of the UK’s first-of-its-kind extra-care LGBTQ+ housing scheme is imminent.  

The LGBTQ+ supported accommodation will be the first in the UK, but similar schemes already exist elsewhere including Germany, Sweden and Spain. The project will be inspired by those abroad, such as one in Los Angeles, by not being exclusive to LGBTQ+ residents. The LGBT Foundation makes it clear the other groups will be welcomed at the Manchester care home too. “We do not want to cut ourselves off as a community,” a representative says.

The Foundation also promotes an understanding that any targeted care home has to act as part of a more comprehensive package of measures aimed at supporting Greater Manchester’s growing elderly LGBTQ+ population. In this manner, the LGBT Foundation is now piloting the UK’s first accreditation scheme for housing providers in Manchester. They will receive training, education and assistance to be able to demonstrate that they are informed and considerate of the needs of LGBTQ+ residents.