LGBT Older Adult Coalition Grows With $50,000 Grant

The LGBT Older Adult Coalition is reaching out to do specific training and development with three local Area Agencies on Aging thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Hope Fund. The Fund has supported the Coalition through their first two years, granting them $25,000 per year for 2012 and 2013. The extended grant will help them get nondiscrimination policies in place for staff, vendors and referrals of the area agencies. It will also help them train call center operators for three area agencies, who take a combined total of 150,000 calls per year. The training will ensure that those who answer the phone are culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of LGBT older adults. There is also a media component to the grant, which will help spread the word about the available of LGBT-friendly agencies.

"We see 100-150 older adults at events like our Older Adult Summit," said Kathleen LaTosch. "But we know there are up to 45,000 LGBT older adults in the Detroit area. By providing training to agencies that serve all older adults, we can reach more of those in our community to ensure they are treated fairly and feel safe receiving services."

Area Agencies on Aging are responsible for most of the funding that comes from state and federal sources, with some of that funding earmarked to reach vulnerable populations. The agencies work with care providers and nonprofits to help connect seniors with services they need.

The collaboration between the LGBT Older Adult Coalition and the three local Area Agencies on Aging could become a model for agencies statewide. This year the coalition will be working with the Senior Alliance (serving Wayne County, but not Detroit), Detroit Area Agency on Aging, and Area Agency on Aging 1B (serving Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties).

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