Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender

SAFE Housing project

The SAFE (Secure, Accessible, Friendly, Equal) project used focus groups and a survey to investigate the current housing provision and housing options available to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT*) people as they get older.

A total of 201 people, living in London or Shropshire and aged 50-86, participated in the research, making it the largest study of its kind in the UK to date.

Findings from the study were disseminated in July 2016 to a range of housing providers, government agencies, charities and LGBT community groups & advocates, in addition to LGBT* people themselves.


There has been very little research exploring what LGBT* people want in relation to housing as they get older. Some research has suggested that older LGBT* people want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and to be treated with dignity and respect by support services.

Reports of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia from staff and/or other residents in residential homes and sheltered housing is a concern for many. These and other issues can affect how LGBT* people think about housing later in life but many older LGBT* people haven’t made specific plans related to their future housing.


The SAFE Housing project explored these issues and found that:

  • Safety in the home was dependent upon the amount of control the person felt they had over their home environment
  • Social isolation from friends, partners, and/or other LGBT people was a big concern
  • Transphobia in their local area and in LGBT* communities was a concern for trans* respondents and could affect the presentation of gender identity in certain housing settings
  • 58 per cent of survey respondents had concerns about housing later in life, but 72 per cent had not made any plans for their future housing
  • Opinion varied with regard to future housing preferences, e.g. older lesbian respondents indicated a stronger preference for gender-specific housing whereas gay men preferred housing for anyone
  • If given the choice, the majority of lesbian and bisexual women respondents expressed a preference for a carer of the same gender as them, the majority of gay and bisexual men expressed a preference for a carer with the same sexuality as them
  • 75 per cent felt that a ‘charter mark’ scheme to identify organisations with a culture of acceptance and benevolence towards LGBT* people was a good idea if properly regulated.

We have a short, downloadable brochure about the project and its findings.

For more information about the study please contact the lead project investigator, Andrew King.

A follow-up impact project LGBT*House is now being conducted in collaboration with Stonewall Housing. This will enable the findings of the SAFE Housing Project to be disseminated to a wider audience, including LGBT* communities and housing providers and policy makers.