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95 Laguna News

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Openhouse and On Lok Join Forces to Help San Francisco’s LGBTQ Seniors Age with Dignity, Independence and Pride

 Local Nonprofits Encourage LGBTQ Seniors to Participate in Design Process

Karyn Skultety, Executive Director of Openhouse

Openhouse and On Lok, two San Francisco-based nonprofits, today announced a strategic partnership to co-design a program for LGBTQ seniors which would address two critical issues in the LGBTQ senior community:  access to much-needed aging services, and the fear that life in a nursing home would drive most back into the closet.

Among those interviewed for a study by the National Senior Citizens Law Center,

  • 78 percent felt it would be unsafe for an LGBT senior to be “out” in a care facility;
  • More than 80 percent believed that staff and other residents would discriminate against an LGBT elder who was out of the closet;
  • 43 percent reported personally witnessing or knowing LGBT individuals who experienced instances of mistreatment.

For transgender seniors, the risks are even higher, with denial of care common, and many reporting thoughts of ending their lives rather than moving into long-term care (Witten, 2014).

Grace Li, CEO of On Lok

“We believe LGBTQ seniors who have recorded lifetimes fighting for the rights of our community should not have to face the double-bind of being forced to choose between being ‘out’ or receiving services. The ideal solution is one that supports LGBTQ seniors to age in the place they call home, surrounded by people they love, in communities where they feel they belong,” said Karyn Skultety, PhD, Executive Director for Openhouse.  “Openhouse has long believed we could lead this solution, and we’ve now found a trusted partner with deep expertise in aging services to work with us.”

“When Openhouse invited us to share in this vision, it was an easy decision,” said Grace Li, On Lok’s Chief Executive Officer.  “LGBTQ seniors are four to ten times less likely to access senior services.  With Openhouse, we now have an opportunity to develop a new program that, by involving LGBTQ seniors early on in the design process, will hopefully help address the issues this community faces accessing vital services.”

The program is expected to begin in summer 2019, and will be one of many Openhouse offerings at the new community center at 75 Laguna Street, which is currently under construction, along with 79 units of LGBTQ-welcoming senior affordable housing.  The overall project is also expected to be completed in summer 2019.

“These essential services fill an unmet need for our underserved LGBTQ seniors,” said Mayor London Breed. “I am proud that the City is sponsoring the building of the community center and affordable housing at 75 Laguna Street and I want to thank On Lok and Openhouse for making this innovative approach a reality.”


For more information about the partnership, to request an interview with Karyn Skultety or Grace Li, or for hi-res images, please contact Craig MacLellan at [email protected].


About Openhouse


  • Live in safe and stable housing that is affordable to them.
  • Be welcomed and treated appropriately by housing, social service and healthcare providers throughout each stage of life across the entire continuum of care.
  • Be engaged with and supported by communities of their choice.

Join us in creating a vibrant, health and secure future for LGBT seniors in San Francisco and the Bay Area!

LGBTQ Seniors Lead San Francisco Pride Parade!

More photos on our Facebook page and in our July newsletter.

95 Laguna Breaks Ground!

Construction has begun on the second building in our LGBT-welcoming senior housing and community complex!

We are adding 79 LGBT-welcoming affordable apartments and 7000 sq ft of new senior activity space to our community, enabling us to host more groups, classes, and events, and serve more LGBT seniors than ever!

Learn more

 What We Do:

Case Management

The Openhouse case management program offers a comprehensive look at the needs of LGBT older adults, adults with disabilities, and/or  caregivers to ensure high-quality holistic care, coordination of services, and follow-through, while maintaining the dignity of each individual and addressing his/her unique needs.

Have you been discharged from the hospital and need in-home support? Experiencing a life transition and feeling overwhelmed about what to do next? Are you struggling with a challenging situation and don’t know where to turn to for help? You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Contact Openhouse’s case management program where you’ll receive compassionate support and expert care navigation and coordination services. Click here to read more about case management services at Openhouse.

Events and Programs for Seniors

Every month Openhouse offers a wide range of programs and activities for LGBT seniors. These programs include exercise classes, men’s and women’s support groups, grief counseling, health workshops, housing assistance and more. We have something for everyone. Openhouse also offers a Friendly Visitor program to provide conversation and companionship to LGBT older adults in San Francisco. To receive our monthly newsletter or to get more information about our programs, please give us a call at (415) 296-8995 or send us an email.

Click here to see upcoming events and programs

Click here to see this month’s newsletter