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‘Pray the gay away if you want the place’: new survey shows how older LGBTQIA+ people experience discrimination searching for housing

Housing for the Aged Action Group 2 mins read

Melbourne, May 17: An older LGTBQIA+ person was told by a real estate agent to ‘pray the gay away’ if they wanted to find a rental, according to a new survey from Housing for the Aged Action Group.

The survey, which gathered responses from 296 LGTBQIA+ people aged 40 and above, found over a third of respondents had felt discriminated against when trying to find housing. 

“I had one real estate agent tell me I could ‘pray the gay away’ if I wanted the place,” one respondent explained.

“Lots of difficulty getting housing as lesbian mums with kids, even when we were both employed,” another said.
The data is being released on the International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination (IDAHOBIT Day).

HAAG Executive Officer Fiona York says the organisation stands together with the LGTBQIA+ community and their allies against discrimination.

Many respondents said that they were struggling to find housing that made them feel safe. One noted that the neighbours were homophobic, another said they were scared of those that lived next door. 

“Everyone deserves access to a home where they feel safe and secure as they grow older,” York says.

“We need to invest in new models of public, community and retirement housing so older LGTBQIA+ people are able to live in communities where they are safe from discrimination.”

11.5% of respondents said that they were at risk of homelessness, but many more had some combination of risk factors, including: living in unaffordable private rental while relying on income support, living alone, and being older, yet did not identify that they were at risk.

Data related to the LGBTQIA+ community and their housing circumstances is limited and that’s even worse for older people. While the sample size of this survey is small, it speaks to older LGTBQIA+ people’s unique experience of Australia’s housing crisis. 

Almost 9% of respondents were experiencing homelessness or living in precarious housing situations. All shared concerns about their housing future related to affordability, ageing and location.

“Will I be able to afford a decent home in a gay-friendly area with access to services, support and friends?” one respondent asked.

“I’m very concerned (about) the insecurity of tenancy, especially as I age. Affordability and security of tenure are crucial concerns. The pension is my primary income and I own no property.”

The report, and interviews with older LGBTQIA+ people impacted by the housing crisis, are available on request.

Key Facts:

• 38% of respondents said they had felt discriminated against when trying to find housing.

• 11% of respondents were at risk of homelessness

• 43% of respondents over 65 had no superannuation

• 61% of respondents would not know where to seek help if they felt at risk of homelessness

About us:

Housing for the Aged Action Group is one of the only Australian organisations specialised in the housing needs of older people. Coming from grass-roots beginnings over 40 years ago, HAAG today is over 800 members strong. It is committed to finding long term solutions to the housing crisis facing older people in Australia.

Contact details:

Kye White, 0419 11 62 69 or

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