Posted on January 29, 2013
1800 Market St., PMB 93
NPO Spotlight - Openhouse
To help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors overcome the unique challenges they face as they age.
About the Organization:
Founded in 1998, Openhouse works to ensure that LGBT seniors in the Bay Area live in safe and stable housing, have access to LGBT-welcoming support and social services, and are active and engaged with their communities. The organization strives to empower LGBT seniors — who may be isolated due to fears of rejection, being judged, and/or inadequate service provision — and, by training service providers to create more welcoming environments, works to change the culture of long-term care in the region. Through community organizing, Openhouse also supports the development of LGBT senior communities where members can support one another.
In partnership with Mercy Housing California, Openhouse is in the process of building more than a hundred affordable housing units for low-income LGBT seniors at 55 Laguna Street. Construction of the facility, which will include Openhouse service offices and an activity center for residents, is expected to begin in 2014.
Openhouse's other services include a Caring Connections program that matches LGBT seniors who are isolated or in need of connection with "friendly visitor" volunteers as well as community resources. In addition, the organization provides cultural sensitivity training and technical assistance to frontline service providers with an eye to helping them create safe, welcoming, and supportive environments for their LGBT clients.
Openhouse's community programs include a joint effort with the Castro Senior Center, 30th Street Senior Center, and others to build community networks for isolated LGBT seniors, increasing their knowledge of and access to services that support healthy aging and independence.
Visitors to the site can access resources for and about the elder LGBT community, including research, housing, and listings of local agencies, private companies, and online resources. Visitors can also watch videos of LGBT seniors telling their stories, look up events by location or type, sign up for the Openhouse newsletter, learn about volunteering opportunities, or support the organization.
Openhouse is supported by individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.