Summary of the work of the Coalition
In 2020, the Steering Committee consists of Charles Curry, Barry Waller, Fred Lugo, Toby Johnson, and Dylan Lowery.
Steering Committee meetings are open to the public. Everybody involved with the Coalition of Aging is welcomed and encouraged to attend. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month, 2:00 to 4:00; usually at the Lamar Senior Activity Center, 2874 Shoal Crest Ave, Austin, TX 78705. That’s at North Lamar and 29th ST.
NOTE: Because of Covid-19, since February 2020, we’ve been meeting over the internet. Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to get a link.
The agenda will have been included in the current month’s newsletter. (See HOME in the menu above.)
The Founding of the Coalition
- In the September 10, 2016 Coalition meeting those in attendance approved the recommendations from the Organization Subgroup they had appointed including the proposed Mission “Improving the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education and programs/services” and organizing initially as a coalition.
- They also prioritized the issues that had previously been identified and chose as the top three:
- No organized LGBT community – no opportunity to congregate, no communication channels, no political power, no geographic center (96 “votes”);
- Agencies providing aging services may not be sensitive to LGBT concerns in their outreach and service delivery (58);
- A combination of issues involving housing: appropriate housing in a supportive setting for people with financial resources(3) as well as for people with limited means (12) and the perception by many that assisted living facilities are not accepting of an openly out lifestyle (18)
- Appointed a Steering Committee to scope project, including measurables, that address these priority issues and propose them to the full group at a subsequent meeting.
- Asked all Coalition members to attempt to recruit other to participate with the goal of increasing the diversity of the Coalition.
Intent of this Newsletter is to update the community on the actions that have taken place since our last community meeting on September 10, 2016.
The original Steering Committee Co-Chairs were Lynne Milburn and Robert Cross. The original members of the Committee included:
- Kathy Bentz, Richard Bondi, Gary Cooper, Charles Curry, Peggy Garrison, Toby Johnson, Fred Lugo, Lynne Milburn, Barry Waller
Steering Committee has met monthly since the last community meeting in September 2016. Minutes are posted on the website.
Based on input from the September community meeting the Steering Committee has established the following:
- Group Name: ALGBT Coalition on Aging, abbreviation ALGBT COA.
- Mission: Improving the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education and programs/services. (Dec 2016) This was approved by the full group in the Sept 2016 mtg.
- Inclusion Statement: We welcome all individuals, regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and people with disabilities. (Dec 2016)
- Diversity: Taking steps to actively recruit Steering Committee members that represent the broader LGBT community. (Oct 2016)
- Relationship with AustinUp to accept donations on behalf of LGBT Coalition on Aging under AustinUp’s 501C3 status, draft MOU with AustinUp under review. (Oct 2016)
- Relationship with Austin Prime Timers. (Apr 2016)
- We are pursuing an affiliation SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders). Information on SAGE can be found at: http://www.sageusa.org/nyc/. As the initial step, the LGBT COA submitted the required Letter of Interest (LOI) for becoming a SAGE affiliate. (Dec 2016)
As a result of the key issues ranked at the September community meeting the Steering Committee has adopted the following goals. (Dec 2016)
Goal 1: Educate agencies providing aging services in order to increase their awareness to LGBT concerns in outreach and delivery of services.
- Identify the unique aging needs/concerns of LGBT people.
- Identify gaps in existing services; what are we going to do to fill them.
- Rate Austin assisted living/nursing facilities on their LGBT awareness/sensitivity.
Goal 2: Create a coordinated LGBT community addressing aging issues that provides opportunities to congregate, communicate, exercise political power and create a geographic center.
- Coalition reflects the diversity of the community
- Provide representation on City Boards, Commissions and Committees
- LGBT community center – we approved added this in our November meeting but we never agreed on how to word the objective.
To better address these goals the Steering Committee created the following work groups/sub-committees:
- Assessment of living facilities and services being provided, including training (Goal 1)
- Communication (Goal 2)
- Coordinated LGBT Community (Goal 2)
- SAGE Affiliation (Goals 1, 2)
Advocacy & Communication
- Google Drop Box, currently used for Steering Committee communication (Oct 2016)
- Mentioned in TV Spot see http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2016/10/13/austin-named-no–1-city-for-gay-friendly-retirement.html (Oct 2016)
- AustinUp website at http://www.austinup.org/about/lgbt-coalition-on-aging/ (Dec 2016)
- Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging website
- Email address (Dec 2016)
Meetings/Activities Attended or Represented
- HIV/AID and Aging Symposium, St. David’s Episcopal Church, shared table with Prime Timers (Dec 2016)
- Attending Austin Commission on Seniors monthly meeting. See https://www.austintexas.gov/content/commission-seniors for information about the Commission. (Dec 2016)
- Representation on the Austin Commission on Seniors sub-committees to address the eight domains of livability laid out in the Age-Friendly Austin Plan. See https://www.austintexas.gov/news/austin-commits-becoming-age-friendly-city and https://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=265853 for information on the Age-Friendly Austin Plan and the domains. (Dec 2016)
- Representation on the board of AustinUp. (Jan 2017)
- Austin Area Senior Living Executive Directors Breakfast (Jan 2017)
- Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation (Jan 2016)
- City of Austin forum on establishing a LGBT Quality of Life Commission (Jan 2016)
Groups/Organizations/Elected Officials Contacted
- SAGE Fort Lauderdale visit (Oct 2016)
- SAGE NYC regarding training certification for (Dec 2016)
- AGE of Central Texas (Dec 2016)
- Project Transitions (Dec 2016)
- Belmont Village Senior Living (Jan 2017)
- Austin City Council member Jimmy Flannigan (Jan 2017)
- Steering Committee members applied for vacant position on Austin Commission on Seniors and other City Commissions (Jan 2017)
- AustinUp (Sep 2016)
- Coming of Age Austin (Sep 2016)
- Prime Timers (Sep 2016)
Additional manpower to attend meetings and serve on committees
Organizational and financial issues: does the steering committee continue and if so for what term, how are members selected, what authority/responsibility does it have; how do we receive and disburse funds
The question came up at the last Steering Committee meeting about what appointments had been made. The minutes from the Nov 12 meeting indicate the following:
For the Age-Friendly subcommittees:
Housing, Outdoor Space and Buildings: Charles
Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion: Fred
Civic Participation and Employment, Communications and Information: Richard
Community and Health Services: Barry
Nominated for City Commission on Seniors: Kathy (must be recommended by Council member, approved by City Council)
Nominated for AustinUp Board: Charles (has been approved by AustinUp Board)
Letter to the Mayor of Austin
March 1, 2017
The LGBT Coalition on Aging is a body of concerned Austin citizens formed together to improve the condition of the LGBT aging community through advocacy, education, programs, and services regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race ethnicity or ability. We fully support the formation of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Quality of Life Advisory Commission. We are especially encouraged the Council has included age in the qualifications and demographic factors formulating this Commission.
This commission is both timely and needed. Austin was recently named one of the best cities for LGBT retirement and is the 2nd fastest growing area in the nation for all persons over 55. This growth in population will make our city’s service agencies face an even larger population of LGBT clients.
The LGBT Coalition on Aging would advocate for at least 1 seat on this commission be held by an LGBTQ person with specific knowledge of LGBT aging issues.
The Stonewall generation of LGBT persons is the first generation to age openly. This has created a unique set of challenges facing cities and service agencies. Because of societal attitudes and institutionalized homophobia and discrimination, LGBT older people are: twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single, and 3 to 4 times less likely to have children, a traditional support structure. Many are estranged from their biological families.
Several national surveys by SAGE (national organization for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons), AARP (Association for Advancement of Retired Persons), and some governmental units have been conducted. The results are eye opening:
- 90% of those surveyed predict they will face discrimination in health care and other services because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This can prevent them from seeking services.
- 43% reported instances of mistreatment
- 39% reported they have seriously considered suicide
One nationwide survey of area and state agencies on aging found that less than 8% offered services targeted to LGBT older adults. Only 12% reported outreach efforts to this vulnerable population.
Thank you for your work to make Austin vibrant and inclusive. If the Coalition can provide any information feel free to contact via email at email@example.com.
Charles Curry Kathy Bentz