In 2008 I launched Holebihome, a cohabitation project for the specific target group of lonely older LGBTs.
Motivation:It is a socially recognised issue that LGBTs, more often than others, frequently face loneliness in their golden years, which is the result of the fact that they are often unable to rely on the support and company of, for example, children of their own, and sometimes also because contact with other family members has been broken off. In addition, the mobility issue for older LGBTs is more pressing, since their networks happen to be spread out geographically. A form of cohabitation whereby, older and younger LBGTs can live together in one and the same location, could meet this need.
Abroad:In the Netherlands such an initiative has already been implemented. The L.A. Ries house in Amsterdam features seven sheltered accommodations near a larger retirement home and in which LGBTs live.
Germany has also rolled out a similar project, i.e., “Lebensort Vielfalt”, with 24 residential units, for which there is a current waiting list of 200 candidates.
Basis:In collaboration with the Ghent Hogeschool a study was conducted to discover whether there is a basis for this within the LGBT community. The result of this study was positive. Four hundred thirty-five LGBTs across the country aged18 to 81 answered an online questionnaire, (240 Dutch-speakers, 131 Francophones and 64 English speakers). It appeared from their answers that 251 of them showed interest in this form of cohabitation.
Support:Holebihome has been supported since April 2010 till June 2013 by the monthly Drinks at Seven in Brussels, also organised by Egalité (the LGBTs of the European institutions) and EGG (English Speaking Gay Group).
We can warmly recommend two Gay friendly retirement homes in Brussels, Belgium:
Sint-Monika, in the lively and cosy Marolles area, for mainly Dutch speaking persons.
Malibran, nearby Place Flagey, for mainly French speaking persons.
Both retirement homes have received training for their staff by the Rainbow House Seniors of Brussels.