Report Details Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples in Senior Housing

March 20, 2014
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The Equal Rights Center, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization, recently released the results of a 10-state investigation documenting discrimination against older same-sex couples seeking housing in senior living facilities.

The study involved 200 matched-pair telephone tests—20 each—in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In 96 of the 200 tests (48 percent), a tester inquiring about housing in a senior living facility for a same-sex couple experienced at least one form of adverse differential treatment, as compared to a counterpart tester inquiring about housing for a heterosexual couple, according to the report. Examples included:

  • Housing agents providing information about additional units being available to the tester from an opposite-sex couple that were not mentioned to the tester from the same-sex couple;
  • Housing agents advising the tester from the same-sex couple about additional fees, costs, or a more extensive application process than were disclosed to the heterosexual tester;
  • Housing agents providing information about additional amenities to the testers from the opposite-sex couple that were not mentioned to the tester from the same-sex couple.

“This investigation is the first of its kind to focus on providing objective, quantitative data specific to older same-sex couples seeking senior housing,” ERC Executive Director Don Kahl said in a statement. “Older LGBT individuals face many unique challenges when seeking housing at senior-living facilities, and discriminatory practices cause further, undue hardship in the lives of LGBT seniors at a time when financial resources are often becoming more limited.”

The report, titled “Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same-Sex Couples,” is available on ERC’s Web site at http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/DocServer/Senior_Housing_Report.pdf?docID=2361.

Source: Equal Rights Center