SAGE and the Diverse Elders Coalition are coordinating an effort to encourage the Administration on Community Living (ACL) to issue guidance under the Older Americans Act that would hold the aging network accountable for reaching our LGBT elders. The ACL has released a plan for how to make sure that elders with the greatest social need receive the services they require — and the plan expressly acknowledges that diverse elders may be among those eligible for increased resources. SAGE, the Diverse Elders Coalition, and other partner organizations across the country would like to see the ACL expressly require states to describe the action they intend to take to assess and address the needs of LGBT elders, who are especially likely to face social isolation and have difficulty accessing available services and supports.
-A law called the Older Americans Act (OAA) funds the aging network (state, local, and non-profit agencies) to provide aging services and supports in our country – things like Meals on Wheels and senior centers.
-Data shows that although LGBT older adults have more need for aging services and supports (because they have higher rates of social isolation and poverty than the general population), they are much less likely to access these programs. Why? Because after facing a lifetime of discrimination, hostility, and ostracism, they are reluctant to engage the services and supports that should be there to help them.
-For the very first time, the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) is considering issuing guidance under the Older Americans Act that would hold the aging network accountable for reaching our LGBT elders.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a done deal —but you can help us finish the job!
After releasing this plan, the ACL asked for feedback from the public — but we don’t have much time to act. We must submit our comments to the ACL before August 22! ACL needs to hear from individuals and organizations from all across the country. They need to hear that this is critical, doable, impactful, and that it will make a big difference in the lives of LGBT older adults.
Opportunity for Organizations to have your voices heard:
-Your organization can show your support by signing-on to a pre-written letter by clicking here.
-Or, your organization can craft their own letter and send it directly to ACL: Greg.Link@acl.hhs.gov
Opportunity for LGBT people and their allies to have their voices heard:
-LGBT older adults, those who work with them, and those who care about them can all show their support by clicking here. You can show your support by simply signing your name onto the comments prepared by SAGE and the Diverse Elders Coalition. You care also able to share personal stories about why this is so important.