Minutes & Reports

On this page:

Annual Report

2019 Annual Report

 

Minutes

Thursday, November 21, 2019, Annual Meeting

Thursday, September 19, 2019 Steering Committee

August 15, 2019 — canceled for lack of a quorum

Thursday, July 18, 2019 Steering Committee

June 20, 2019 — canceled for lack of a quorum

Thursday, May 16, 2019 Steering Committee

April 18, 2019 — canceled for lack of a quorum

March 21, 2019 Steering Committee

February 21, 2019 Steering Committee

January 17, 2019 Steering Committee

November 15, 2018 Steering Committee Meeting

March 24, 2018 Coalition Meeting

May 6, 2017 Coalition Meeting

Sept 10, 2016 Coalition Meeting


Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging

Annual Report for 2019

MISSION

Improving the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education and programs/services

 

This has been a very active and productive year for the Coalition. We have continued to provide representation on a broad range of boards, commissions and work groups dealing with issues impacting LGBT seniors. In addition we have made presentations to conferences, organizational meetings and celebrations to make the community more aware of our population, our challenges and our successes. It is appropriate that we stop to acknowledge where we have come in 2019 and the work that we have done in this Annual Report to our membership.

In keeping with our goal to, “Educate agencies providing aging services in order to increase their awareness to LGBT concerns in outreach and delivery of services”, one of our strategies for advocating for our community and educating others on the issues LGBT seniors face has been to work within existing organizations where decisions impacting us are made. The Coalition is now represented on the HIV Planning Council, the City Commission on Seniors, the City’s LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission, the AustinUp Board, and several of the work groups representing the different areas of Austin’s Age Friendly Plan including the work group on Community Support and Health, the group on Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, and Civic Participation and Employment, as well as the group covering Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, and Housing.

The Community Support and Health work group was able to get city funding for the Health Department to work with the public safety departments on identifying and addressing senior issues when responding to residential calls. Both Fire and Emergency Medical Services often respond to calls for medical assistance from seniors in their homes. In addition to addressing the immediate emergency, public safety personnel are receiving training on senior issues such as home safety, fall prevention and social isolation. The Health Department will provide follow up support to work with the senior and identify resources and alternatives for assistance. This same work group has reviewed city emergency preparedness plans and made suggestions to make procedures more age friendly.

The Civic Participation and Employment work group has worked with AustinUp to host 50+ job fairs as well as developing an age friendly business certification that can be used by business owners. One of the Coalition’s goal is to, “Create a coordinated LGBT community addressing aging issues that provides opportunities to congregate, communicate, exercise political power and create a geographic center”. While one strategy for doing this might be to create new opportunities for our community, another strategy could be providing our community with better information on existing opportunities and encouraging their use of those. This work group has also developed an online map (www.austintexas.gov/agefriendlyaustin) that city departments are populating with senior resources and facilities by geographic location. Educating our community on the use of this resource can be a way of improving access to those existing resources.

We should also note that the Parks and Recreation Department reached out to the Coalition to explore ways that we could assist them in better communicating that their senior programs and facilities are open and welcoming spaces for our community. As part of that ongoing, the Coalition’s Steering Committee now holds their monthly meetings at the Lamar Senior Activity Center.

Another Coalition goal is to, “Identify and support appropriate, culturally sensitive housing solutions for LGBT seniors.” A specific objective under that goal is, “Affordability and services for those who choose to stay in their own homes as they age” The importance of this has been underlined this year by the release of a study that found that senior living facilities will be too expensive for low and middle income seniors within the next few years. This trend makes it even more important to identify solutions to enable seniors to age in place in their own residence. The Housing work group has been able to bring attention to the problems facing seniors in the areas of Austin that have seen the steepest escalation of property values as expensive new developments have been attracted by the proximity to the central downtown area. As a result seniors who bought their homes years ago are now faced with higher property tax payments than their former mortgage payments. These high costs are endangering their ability to age in place in their own homes. For LGBT seniors this can mean transitioning from their neighborhood support system to lower cost housing in the suburbs, far from their medical services and with neighbors potentially less welcoming, increasing their risk of the negative impacts from social isolation.

The work group identified issues within the property tax system that have resulted in some seniors not taking advantage of the property tax exemptions made available to owners 65 and older by the city and state. These exemptions measurably reduce city, county and school district taxes. They also make it possible for seniors to waive their taxes until their home is sold, which can be an attractive alternative to giving up a home and it’s memories. The Housing work group, the Commission on Seniors and the LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission were able to garner the support needed to have City Council pass a resolution directing the City Manager to investigate and report back to Council possible solutions.

In the original Community Conversation focus group that resulted in the formation of the Coalition, one of the identified issues that was surprising to many was the observation that of those who are HIV+ and know their status, there are more people over 50 years of age than under. Yet while there are support groups for the younger HIV+ population, none exist specifically for the HIV+ senior population. We addressed that issue (along with others) by developing a goal to “Identify gaps in existing services”. Our strategic plan specifically called for us to educate the community on the existing gap and work to close that in part by supporting ASA’s grant applications to fund an HIV+ Over Fifty support group which we have done.

In addition to that Coalition representatives have made a series of presentations – at the HIV and Aging Conference, to the Aging Services Council, to the leadership of the AIDS service organizations, and to the area social workers organization to highlight this trend in the changing HIV+ demographic and to suggest that senior service agencies and AIDS service organizations should sit down together and discuss how best to serve this population as it presents new and somewhat unfamiliar challenges to both groups. That effort is ongoing; we now have identified representatives from both groups who have agreed to work together to plan such a discussion.

We have also worked to “increase awareness” in other ways – an interview session on KOOP radio, Capital City Village’s Celebrity Salon series, a presentation to the Cultural Care for Aging LGBTQ Workshop and responding to news media queries on LGBT topics

In September of this year our community was given another “opportunity to congregate”. Thanks to the work of staff at Meals on Wheels and the willingness of the Area Agency on Aging, the first LGBT focused lunch program was initiated. The first site is in space provided (or leased) from Metropolitan Community Church at 8601 South 1st St. The group, which has adopted the name Golden Generation Social Scene, meets on Monday and Wednesday of each week for socializing, crafts, games and a free lunch for those 65+. The Coalition is working to support this effort to address social isolation among LGBT seniors in Austin. Funding is available for an additional site but continued funding is also contingent on a demonstrated need – to paraphrase the saying, “if we don’t come, they won’t fund it”. This is a great opportunity for Coalition members to get involved by helping to identify those members of our community most in danger of isolating themselves and working to get them involved in this program.

Finally, as the year comes to an end the Coalition is working to revive an old project and get it restarted – the Austin Gay History Project. The Austin History Center at 810 Guadalupe St houses an extensive archive of local history. Already some of the figures and activist in the city’s gay and lesbian history are included, like comedian/producer/director Doug Dyer, on the of the creators of Esther’s Follies, and poet/playwright/hippie high priest Dennis Paddie, who’s currently donating his personal and professional archive to the Center.

Recently, Dean Carpenter Turner, a relative newcomer to Austin from Atlanta where he was acquainted with the very active Atlanta Gay History Project, contacted Coalition Steering Committee Toby Johnson about volunteering in such a program here. Johnson and Paddie are beginning to work with him. Because people move away and people die, we need to preserve recollections of a history that will otherwise just be lost.

One way of preserving this legacy is by recording oral histories and video interviews with the people who live through this past. An interview/reporter for KOOP radio is also interested in this effort. This is another opportunity for Coalition members to get involved in a project of value to the community and also a lot of fun.

In concluding, it has been a busy and eventful year. Our work has demonstrated the value of playing an active role in the Austin community. We have found people to be open and interested in learning more about LGBT concerns and issues. We have also established new allies who have helped us make significant progress toward making Austin a MORE LGBT age friendly city. We would like to close the year by expressing our heartfelt thanks to all of those who made the work this year possible.


November 21, 2019

Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging  Annual Business Meeting

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Minutes

 

Present: Charles Curry, Fred Lugo, Barry Waller, Dylan Lowry, Deric Bownds, Heidi Becerril

Call to Order

Charles Curry called the meeting to order at 2 PM.

Approval of Minutes

  • Barry moved approval of the minutes for July 18, 2019. Toby seconded. Motion carried.
  • Toby moved approval of the minutes for October 17, 2019. Dylan seconded. Motion carried.

Introduction of Current Officers and their Terms of Office

  • Charles Curry, Chair, elected in 2018, term expires in 2020
  • Barry Waller, Treasurer, elected in 2018, term expires in 2020
  • Fred Lugo, Secretary, elected in 2018, term expires in 2020

Annual Dues

Barry moved that annual dues remain the same ($0) for FY 2020. Toby seconded. Motion carried.

Steering Committee Appointment

Deric moved that Dylan be appointed to the Steering Committee. Toby seconded. Motion carried.

November Newsletter

Charles recommended including the annual report in the November newsletter. Edits to the draft were made and included in the report.

January Agenda Item: Federal Issues Affecting LGBT Seniors Locally

Suggested issues to be discussed with Erin Gurak, from Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s Office, will include:

  • HIV and seniors
  • Housing / federal subsidies for LGBT senior housing
  • Mental health. Note: Data on LGBT seniors is sparse. Need improved data collection.
  • Is there any consideration regarding LGBTQ seniors in the Congressman’s agenda or committee work?
  • How are LGBTQ seniors considered in federal policy direction?

Website

  • Announce LGBTQ center site on website.
  • Need to develop policy on which sites to list as resources or services.
  • Consider adding membership category for business membership. They may be included as a sponsor.

Other Business

  • Ask AGLSS to present their training to the Steering Committee.

Future Agenda items

  • Review strategic plan (February). Recommendation to focus training on caregivers rather than senior living facilities.
  • Erin Gurak, Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s office (January)
  • Review bylaws (future item)

Meeting adjourned at 4 PM

 


September 19, 2019

Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging Steering Committee

September 19, 2019

Minutes

 

Members present: Curry, Lugo, Waller

There were two items for discussion on the agenda:

  1. The Fall Coalition General Meeting
  2. The meals/recreation program
  1. Fall Coalition General Meeting: There was a consensus among those present that we needed to have the general meeting to comply with the bylaw requirement, that the best date available given the notice requirement in the bylaws was Nov 2, that we would check to see if the County office building was available as a meeting site, and that there would not be a speaker or program given the lack of attendance at previous general meetings, only an annual business meeting.

There was also a consensus on the agenda:

  1. Recommendation on dues (req by bylaws): the consensus was a continuation of $0 dues for the next fiscal year;
  2. Officer elections – none needed, current officers elected last year for 2 year terms
  3. Confirmation vote on Steering Committee members
  4. Annual Report
  5. Slide show (either the HIV and Aging or the Oct 29th conference presentations.
  1. Meals/Recreation Program: There was extensive discussion but no consensus. The majority of those present felt that although this program was important the current Coalition participation was not sufficient for us to extensively promote the program, that should be the duty of Meals on Wheels and our role would be to publicize events.

An additional item was added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting: a discussion of long term care facility staff training . We were not able to get to this discussion in the September 19th meeting.

 


July 18, 2019

Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging Steering Committee

Thursday July 18, 2019

Minutes

 

Members present: Curry, Lugo, Johnson, Waller

 

The meeting was held at the Meals on Wheels offices (3227 East 5th St) following a briefing on a new congregate meal site focused on LGBTQ seniors.

 

There were 5 discussion items as follows:

  1. Items for July newsletter;
  2. Potential new Steering Committee members from review of the current mailing list;
  3. Update on nonprofit application project;
  4. Update on property tax exemption project;
  5. Discussion of upcoming presentations.

No action was taken and the meeting was adjourned following the discussion.

 


Thursday, May 16, 2019

 

Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging Steering Committee Minutes

Thursday, May 16, 2019

 

Present: Charles Curry, Toby Johnson, Fred Lugo, Dylan Lowery

 

Called to order by Charles Curry at 2:15.

 

1) Minutes approved without objection.

 

2) Property Tax Exemptions. Charles took the lead in drafting the resolution. The draft will be taken to the Joint Inclusion Committee on May 22. Subsequent revisions may occur in June through additional discussions with the Commission on Seniors and other Quality of Life Commissions.

 

3) Nonprofit Status. Charles with check with Barry Silverberg at ACC to obtain information on how to establish a non-profit organization.

 

Charles has contacted BOB and Richard Bondi regarding their efforts in establishing a SAGE. He has proposed working in partnership to jointly obtain nonprofit status. Still awaiting word from BOB.

 

4) Social Interaction/Community Building

 

  • Pride Prom. The LGBT Elder Task Force has registered for a table at the Pride Prom on June 2. The committee decided not to host a table at the event.
  • Queer Bomb. Occurs June 1 at Fair Market. The committee decided not to host a table at the event.
  • Participation in this year’s event is still open for discussion.

4) Presentation for HIV & Aging Conference.

 

  • Charles and Barry are giving a presentation on HIV and its effect on the aging process. Suggest convening a meeting of HIV and senior service providers, sponsored by an elected official, to look at trends and developing a plan on jointly addressing issues.

5) LGBT Survey. UT Medical School is doing the survey in multiple cities. Clayton’s involvement is presently unknown.

 


Thursday, March 21, 2019

 Steering Committee Minutes

Thursday, March 21, 2019

 

Present: Charles Curry, Toby Johnson, Barry Waller, Fred Lugo

Guest: Dylan Lowery

 

Called to order by Charles Curry at 2:04.

 

  1. Question was raised if we were following the Coalition’s bylaws by not following Roberts Rules of Orders. Bylaws were reviewed; all agreed the bylaws are being followed by having approval without objection.
  1. Approval of minutes for the Feb 21 Steering Committee meeting. Approval without objection.
  1. Financial Report: The fiscal year with a balance of $548.89 and have spent $243.99 for website expenses for a current balance of $304.90. Recommendation to have a future agenda item on fundraising/generating more funds.
  1. Roundtable updates:
    1. Report on the LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission budget forum. Charles and Barry attended the forum. Input provided by those in attendance and will be transcribed into a summary. The meeting concluded without knowing next steps. Steering Committee recommendation: 1) report to the Coalition on the LGBTQ’s Commission’s budget recommendations, 2) send notice to Coalition membership about attending the Commission on Seniors’ budget town hall on Thursday, March 28, 10 AM.  
    2. HIV and Aging Symposium presentation scheduled for June 21.
    3. Aging Services Council presentation scheduled for June 6.
    4. Great Austin Social Workers presentation scheduled for August 16. Awaiting confirmation.    
    5. Report on March Fun Force event. Held at Barrel O’Fun Comedy Club.
  1. Discussion and possible action on a request from Clayton Gibson for a Letter of Support for a City budget proposal for $200,000 for FY20 for QWELL’S “Austin Outpost” project (LGBTQIA Community Center popups at the City’s community centers). Steering Committee recommendation: no position will be taken without detailed information. With detailed information, the Steering Committee would consider calling a Coalition meeting to discuss the issue.
  1. Produce 30-minute videos on LGBTQ awareness for senior living facilities through Family Eldercare. Family Eldercare staff suggests two ~30-minute videos to be presented during shift changes. FE staff will storyboard. Recommendation: seek foundation grants for video production, or convey as a need through the LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission’s budget request.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2019

STEERING COMMITTEE MINUTES

Attending: Barry, Toby, Charles (Fred absent for medical reasons)

  1. Discussion of HIV and Aging Conference presentation

Barry and Charles (on behalf of the Coalition) have been invited to make a presentation at this June conference on HIV+ seniors, demographics and service implications for agencies assisting seniors as well as those assisting the HIV+ population.

Those present expressed support for the Coalition’s involvement in this conference.

  1. Invitation to present at “Greater Austin Social Workers” monthly meeting” in August. Those present expressed support for this presentation on behalf of the Coalition as well.
  • Discussion of upcoming LGBTQ Quality of Life forums
    1. Budget March 6: Those present reviewed a proposed informational mailing to the Coalition membership. A similar informational piece will be in the Prime Timers monthly newsletter. There were no other suggestions for other communications to encourage attendance.
  1. Quality of Life study. The LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission has discussed an additional forum to discuss the Quality of Life study funded in this year’s City budget but has not yet set a date. Potential involvement for the Coalition will be discussed as more information becomes available.
  1. Barry also brought up a possible presentation to the senior service providers of the Aging Services Council that Fred had suggested at our last meeting. There needs to be a followup on the date as well as coordination to make sure that we have been able to obtain the necessary Austin specific data on the HIV+ population in time for a presentation. There was a discussion and decision that contacts with additional service agencies should be scheduled after this presentation as part of the preparation for the HIV and Aging Conference.
  1. Discussion of membership for individual or organization (such as Family Eldercare)

There was a suggestion that an organizational membership category could be considered in the future with a possible bylaw amendment, particularly if a decision were made to charge annual dues (currently authorized in the bylaws but set at $0 ). There was also a concern that while input from organizations, service agencies, etc., would be useful, it should be structured to ensure that the interests of individual memberships were not overshadowed.

  1. Other discussion: Toby reported on an invitation sent to the Coalition website from the Austin Public Library to staff an information table at the QUEER SPACE: PRIDE PROM on June21, 2019, 6:30 to 10 pm at the Special Event Center at the Central Library on 710 W. Cesar Chavez. That was forwarded to the FunForce (*BOB*).

January 17, 2019 Steering Committee

Present: Charles Curry, Barry Waller, Toby Johnson, Fred Lugo

  1. Updates
  • Coming on Seniors – Housing Update – Property Tax Exemptions

The Chair of Commission on Seniors asked the Gentrification Task Force if people were taking advantage of property tax exemptions. Studies showed that many weren’t. The Task Force recommended establishing a City position to assist people in taking advantage of exemptions.

  • HIV Planning Council

The HIV Planning Council will host a public hearing to develop strategies for reaching out to hard to reach, underserved groups. Public hearing is tentatively scheduled for February 25, 2018.

  • City Budget

The City’s budget process for the next fiscal year has started. The City Manager is seeking more community input into the budget process. Quality of Life Commissions, including the Commission on Seniors, will conduct town halls to obtain community input.

  • LGBT Commission

Commission meeting dates are changed to the second Monday of the month, 7–9 PM.

  • Austin Fast Track

Austin Fast Track plan is being developed. Headed by Dr. Huang at APH. Participation is open to anyone.

  • Ryan White Conference

Barry attended the Ryan White Conference in DC. Evidence shows that senior health issues manifest themselves earlier in people who have HIV than those who are non-HIV.

  • Website

Spam has disappeared with user blocks and eliminating the blog page.

  • HIV & Aging Conference.

Charles and Barry have met conference planners and recommended the inclusion of sessions that address issues related to aging with HIV and getting senior and HIV services that are seamless to the client. The Coalition has been invited to kick off the conference with a presentation. The conference will be held in June.

  1. 2019 Coalition Goals/Objectives
  • Align Coalition goals and objectives with the City’s strategic plan.
  • A strategy will be added to have conversation with the senior LGBT coalitions in Dallas and Houston. Phone calls will be held beforehand to gauge if further conversation should take place.
  • Last year, Project Transitions sought the Coalition’s assistance to develop senior housing. Status of their housing project is unknown. Charles will follow-up with them to determine if this is still a goal of theirs.

III.                  Topics for Next Meeting

  • Investigate training options.
  • Conduct agency visits to senior service providers like Family Eldercare.
  • Use of social media. Nonexistent at present.
  • Nonprofit status. Have not pursued.
  • Suggest discussion of these items and developing some timeframes.

Next meeting February 21, 2-4 PM.


November 15, 2018 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

Present: Charles Curry, Barry Waller, Toby Johnson, Fred Lugo

Regarding the Oct 27, Coalition Annual Meeting:

  • Fred will update Bylaws. Toby will put on website.
  • Turnout was poor. Why? Possibly communication. Possibly the type of event. This wasn’t a town hall type of event that generally has better attendance. Half of those on the distro did not open the meeting invitation. Members comment that they value the information received and work accomplished.   Suggestions: 1) use Facebook, 2) continue utilizing email, but make introductory part of the email (preview) more interesting, 3) provide examples of incremental change/success, 4) use MeetUp (cost is $15/month, payable in six-month installments).

AustinUp looking for a Hispanic representative on their Board. Let Charles know if have recommendations.

Aging Services Council Survey

  • Question 7: include HIV/AIDS
  • Question 9: why the top two? Seems like that there are a lot of important issues on the list that may be close to the top two.
  • Question 47: include “living together/not married”

HIV & Aging Conference. Planning committee is looking for input.   Recommend having a conference that links the two together, instead of sessions that separate the issues. Would like to see conversation around senior service providers developing programs for those aging with HIV/AIDS.

Topics for next meeting:

  • What distinguishes LGBTQ seniors from straight seniors?
  • Nonprofit status
  • Visits with agencies like Family Eldercare
  • Use social media
  • Trips to Houston and Dallas

Meeting frequency: 3rd Thursday of every month at 1:30 PM

Next meeting: January 17, 2019, 1:30 PM


March 24, 2018

Spring Coalition Meeting

The March 24 Coalition meeting featured Dr. Victor Martinez, Chair of the City of Austin LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission as our guest speaker. Dr. Martinez gave some background information on the Commission:

  • Approved by the City Council in 2017 as the fourth Quality of Life Commission for the City of Austin
  • Role is to advise the City Council on issues impacting our community
  • Consists of 11 members selected by the Mayor and City Council members and 4 members selected by Commission members to achieve appropriate diversity
  • Currently considering a recommendation to Council on the 2018-19 City Budget.

The discussion period that followed focused primarily on the prospects for an LGBTQ community center facility. Dr. Martinez reported on a recent presentation by the newly formed Board of the PRIDE organization responsible for the annual PRIDE Festival. There is a separate non-profit that has worked on developing a community center proposal. Currently there is no schedule for City funding for such a facility. In past discussions the completion of a study defining the characteristics and priority issues of the LGBTQ community in Austin was suggested as a prerequisite for consideration of City funding. Such a study is likely to be the primary budget recommendation from the Commission as it was last year.

There was also a discussion of possible visits to LGBTQ community centers in other communities to see what programs and group activities they offer as a way of providing an impetus for Austin groups to design and create programs.

Progress Report

Following the presentation by Dr. Martinez Coalition members discussed progress and strategies for reaching our goals.

Strengthen Our Community: As Dr. Martinez outlined in our Coalition meeting it is unlikely that we will see a city funded LGBT community center facility in the next several years.. A possible interim strategy is to develop alternatives for social opportunities in existing facilities, such as the City’s recreation facilities. In fact one of the ongoing discussion points around a community center is whether a single centrally located facility is the best option given our dispersed population and the transportation challenges.

For the immediate future perhaps the best approach is to focus on the question of what services and activities would Coalition members most like to see if a community center existed. One suggestion for organizing that discussion would be to ask members what types of services and activities they would like to see offered as well as how far they would be willing/able to travel for each type.

Encourage LGBTQ Sensitive Services: A group from the Steering Committee met recently with Patricia Bordie, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to discuss the services that agency provides and opportunities for making those more LGBTQ sensitive. AAA’s service area extends beyond the City of Austin to cover nine surrounding counties —which responds to concerns of some Coalition members that live outside the City. Among the services they offer are Navigators who meet with seniors on an individual appointment basis to make them aware of the array of senior services and programs that are available from all level of governments and not for profit organizations. We discussed the LGBT sensitivity training available through SAGE and Patty expressed support for making that available for the Navigators.

The door is open, folks, all we need is some volunteers who would be willing to deliver
the training and lead a discussion afterward on the issues we face as we age.

We have also added links to resources on our website. AGE of Central Texas has recently published an excellent Community Resource Guide, Caregiving in Central Texas. While addressed to senior issues in general the Guide is an up to date listing of health and social service providers. The second resource, AGLSS (Austin Gay Lesbian Senior Services—pronounced “Ageless”) is a service provided by Family Eldercare specifically targeted to LGBT issues.

Both of these resources help to address a concern that is expressed at nearly every meeting of the Coalition —“where can we turn for help?” Please take a look at both of these and remember to pass along our website address, algbtcoa.org, to any of your friends looking for assistance. If you find areas in either that need correction or where additional information is available please let us know.

Support Housing Alternative/Options: There are two current discussions that could have an impact on housing alternatives for the senior community as a whole as well as LGBTQ seniors. The first of these is the ongoing discussion on a new Land Development Code know as Code Next.   In a recent presentation to the Commission on Seniors a City representative answered questions about how Code Next would benefit seniors. In response he outlined several ways in which the proposal would increase the stock of affordable housing by providing opportunities for shared housing (the number of unrelated people in a residence, sometimes referred to as the “Golden Girls option”) and increasing the opportunities for auxiliary buildings that could provide housing for senior caretakers or allow seniors a different option for separate living accommodations adjacent to friends or family.

The second discussion concerns proposals to increase City funding for senior housing rehabilitation grants and loans. The current City program makes funds available for senior to make necessary repairs to their homes and/or to retrofit their homes to make them more accessible (ramps, safety railings, etc.). The number of homes in the City in need of repair or modification increases each year as the current level of funding does not meet the demand.

Both of these specific strategies address the ability of seniors to “age in place” which we have heard support for from Coalition members.

Future Coalition Meetings

 

The folks attending the Spring Coalition meeting also spent some time discussing meeting format and the difficulty in attracting and maintaining a large audience. There were several ideas expressed including:

  • The lack of sustained attendance is reflective of a point consistently made since the first focus group meeting: Austin does not have a sense of LGBT community; there is a lack of organization, communication, etc.
  • We should make more use of LGBTQ friendly churches. These are organizations that attract an audience once a week for their services and have physical facilities that are largely unused most of the week. The downside of using church facilities was also discussed—the awareness that for some the location of meetings suggested that the Coalition had a specific religious connection.
  • Most large turnouts are primarily focused on one-shot events like protest marches, fund raisers or entertainment events.
  • There was also a discussion about a variation on the focus group approach— neighborhood focused meetings as a way of building community. This would involve identifying LGBTQ neighborhood groups that already exist and finding a way to create groups where there are none. This would also address the traffic disincentive for attending a function in a single location.
  • It was also noted that for all the difficulty in attracting attendance those who came seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to have a discussion on the issues.

We would welcome your suggestions — let us know what you’d be interesting in for future meetings and where you might like to have them.

Rainbow Forum Reminder

The Coalition in combination with Austin Prime Timers sponsors a monthly discussion group on topics selected by the group. The idea of the discussion group is patterned after a similar one associated with the Ft Lauderdale LGBTQ community center there. The Austin group meets in the afternoon on the first Sunday of each month and has a volunteer moderator each month that provides material in advance on the topic chosen. For information on meeting topics and the location each month rsvp to forumaustin@gmail.com.

 

$$$$$

 

A couple of weeks ago we sent out an invitation to Coalition members to offer their suggestions on how the City of Austin might support the LGBT community in the next city budget. Here’s a sample of what we received so far:

  • To ensure that LGBTQ seniors have safe, affirming care, the City of Austin should provide training in LGBTQ issues to all senior/elder services, including residential centers, agencies, facilities, and programs.
  • The City should assist in setting up neighborhood LGBTQ community centers in each of the Council districts. One suggestion would be to use temporarily vacant commercial buildings.
  • The Commission should request funding to publicize the input received by the working groups on issues impacting the LGBTQ community in Austin.

If you haven’t responded yet there’s still time to add your suggestion – email to contact@algbtcoa.org


May 6, 2017 Coalition Meeting

A standing room only crowd gathered for the May 6 meeting of the LGBT Coalition on Aging. The Goals and Objectives that had been developed by the Steering Committee since our last meeting were presented for discussion and approval.

Our Purpose:

Improving the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education and programs/services

Richard Bondi presented our first goal:

GOAL # 1: Strengthen Our Community

Create a coordinated LGBT community addressing aging issues that provides opportunities to congregate, exercise political power and create a geographic center

Objectives:

  • Coalition reflects the diversity of the community
  • Provide representation on City Boards, Commissions and Committees
  • Assist in development of community center

Strategies

  1. Recruit female and minority seniors
  2. Secure positions on relevant boards and commissions – a seat at the table
  3. Work with Pride Foundation on community center and provide senior programming ideas
  4. Organize periodic Coalition social gatherings to demonstrate the feasibility and the need for senior programming in a future community center and to help build support for the community center

The Coalition approved the goal and added the following Objective:

  • Increase recognition of the Coalition and its purpose

And proposed additional strategies:

  1. Organize a PRIDE event/presence for older participants to increase visibility and establish a more involved role for seniors in the LGBT community
  2. Create identification for the Coalition for participation in the June Equality March and in PRIDE events
  3. Conduct intergenerational events

Toby Johnson presented out goal for achieving LGBT friendly services:

 

GOAL #2: LGBT Sensitive Services

Agencies providing aging services that are sensitive to the LGBT concerns in outreach and service delivery

Objectives:

  • Identify the unique aging needs/concerns of LGBT people
  • Identify gaps in existing services and what should be done to fill them
  • Survey Austin assisted living/nursing facilities on their LGBT awareness/sensitivity

Strategies

  1. Develop and deliver a survey of providers starting with living facilities
  2. Explore options for providing LGBT sensitivity training
  3. Address identified lack of support group for HIV+ people over 50

The Coalition approved the goals and objectives and suggested additional strategies:

  1. Gain buy-in from the State Health Department executive committee prior to doing the survey
  2. Reach out to home health providers in addition to surveying living facilities
  3. Include policies (eg. inclusive language, outreach) when doing the survey
  4. Identify champions with agencies providing services
  5. Utilize the one hour SAGE training as a lead-in to providing training
  6. Contact the LGBT groups with the City/County Health and Human Services Department for assistance, information on past efforts
  7. Provide speakers for provider groups

Kathy Bentz presented the recommendation from the Steering Committee on the addition of a third goal on Housing Alternatives. The Coalition approved forming a committee to develop recommendation on this goal along with specific objectives and suggested strategies.

Finally, Fred Lugo presented a recommendation from the Steering Committee that the Coalition should develop an organization framework to include by laws, a definition of the functions of the Coalition and the Steering Committee, and basic processes such as how we receive and spend funds. The Coalition also approved forming a committee to develop recommendations on organization.

At the conclusion of the May 6 meeting there was a short survey.   The members present overwhelming supported quarterly meetings of the Coalition as opposed to twice a year; twenty-one of those present indicated that they would likely attend social events sponsored by the Coalition and twenty indicated that they would likely participate in senior living facilities tours set up by the Coalition to increase awareness of the LGBT senior community.

Volunteer Opportunities

 

The following committees were organized at the May 6 Coalition meeting. If you are interested in getting involved, contact the chairs listed:

Community: Richard Bondi at rbondi@earthlink.net

Services: Toby Johnson at tobyjohnso@aol.com

Organization: Fred Lugo at fredlugo1@gmail.com


LGBT Aging Coalition meeting

September 10, 2016

  1. Report from the Organization Subgroup

Proposed mission for the coalition:

Improve the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education and programs/services.

Proposed structure: Coalition

  1. Project Identification

 

Process:

  1. Confirm/amend list of issues
  2. Prioritize to identify which issues the coalition wants to address first
  3. Identify potential project(s) for the coalition to implement that addresses priority issue(s)

Issues:

  • appropriate housing in a supportive setting for people with financial security
  • appropriate housing in a supportive setting for people with fewer resources, particularly with Austin’s rising property values and cost of living
  • the perception by many that assisted living facilities are not accepting of an openly out lifestyle
  • agencies providing aging services may not be sensitive to LGBT concerns in their outreach and service delivery
  • the increased likelihood that LGBT elders will be isolated with the resulting negative impacts
  • no organized LGBT community – no opportunity to congregate, no communication channels no political power no geographic center
  • previous experience with medical professionals, particularly with the AIDS crisis, has resulted for some in a lack of trust, fear of disclosure and other barriers to getting medical care

Criteria to consider when prioritizing issues:

Degree of impact

Difficulty

Measurability

Research-based

Level of need

Level of gap to meet need

Existing resources available

Sequence

Visibility of project

Credibility potential of project

Multi-voting prioritization results:

Housing w/ means 3

Housing w/ limited means 12

Assisted living not accepting 18

Agencies’ outreach and programs 58*

Isolation/inclusion 11

No centralized community 96*

Barriers to accessing medical care 2

* Selected as first issues for coalition to address

Decisions:

  1. Executive Committee formed

Gary, Barry, Richard, Charles (secretary), Lynne (co-chair), Robert (co-chair), Fred, Toby

  1. EC will meet to scope a project(s) that addresses priority Issues and propose to full group at a subsequent meeting.
  2. All coalition members will attempt to recruit others to participate with the goal of increasing the diversity of the coalition

Potential tasks to be included in the project plan:

  • Publicize the existence and mission of the coalition
  • Identify a single person to speak for the coalition
  • Identify a chairperson or chairpersons
  • Have a coalition member serve on the Austin Up board
  • Present to the City Commission on Seniors
  • Host or table at an event
  • Develop a structure for internal communications
  • Reach out to younger LGBT community
  • Seek input from community and coalition members