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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that it would create the first national resource center to assist communities across the country in providing services and support for older LGBT individuals.
As many as 1.5 million to 4 million LGBT individuals are age 60 and older, and many agencies that serve elders may be unfamiliar with their particular needs, according to the announcement from HHS.
"The new resource center for LGBT elders will provide information, assistance and resources for both LGBT organizations and mainstream aging services providers at the state and community level to assist them in the development and provision of culturally sensitive supports and services," said the announcement. "The LGBT center will also be available to educate the LGBT community about the importance of planning ahead for future long term care needs."
The national resource center will be funded with a single grant at approximately $250,000 per year, pending availability of funds, said HHS.
Michael Adams, executive director of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders, issued a statement hailing the announcement.
"This resource center is a truly historic recognition of the needs of LGBT older adults across the country and will make a huge difference in the lives of so many seniors," Adams said. "For too long, programs that serve LGBT older people have been ignored and shut out from most public funding, and there has been no federal funding to help mainstream aging services become educated about and sensitive to the unique needs of LGBT older adults. With this announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services and Obama administration have taken a big step in the right direction to correct that wrong as a matter of both policy and funding."