This week, a group of leaders from anti-hunger, LGBT, aging, and economic justice organizations convened to discuss an often-overlooked challenge facing LGBT older Americans – that of hunger.
The event was hosted by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and SAGE, bringing together nearly 50 key stakeholders to share insights, exchange ideas and strategies, and discuss policy solutions to tackle this issue.
LGBT seniors are 60% more likely to experience food insecurity than their non-LGBT peers, and addressing the unique challenges facing LGBT older Americans is critical as this population grows. Twenty-seven percent of all LGBT adults relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and experienced food insecurity in 2016. LGBT elders are also less likely to seek out meal programs and other charitable food programs out of fear of anti-LGBT discrimination and harassment. Additionally, there are efforts underway to remove and/or not enforce anti-discrimination policies on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for USDA programs like SNAP, the senior-only Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Mia Hubbard, VP of Programs at MAZON
“There is widespread understanding that LGBT seniors are facing challenges in healthcare and housing, but the third “H” of basic needs – hunger – has been overlooked for far too long,” said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON. “As an ally organization in partnership with those in the LGBT community, MAZON is proud to convene leaders in this space so we can best advocate on behalf of this particularly vulnerable – but highly resilient – population.”
“While we know LGBT elders face higher rates of social isolation, poverty, and a lack of access to culturally competent services and supports, not enough attention has been paid to the hunger LGBT older people disproportionately face on a daily basis,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “Nobody should go hungry in their later years. Our LGBT community owes a debt to our elder pioneers to ensure that they are food secure and, ultimately, can age well. SAGE is proud to partner with MAZON on this much needed convening that we hope will draw more attention to this important issue.”