Bonamici Discusses the Older Americans Act with LGBTQ Seniors and Advocates

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici spoke with LGBTQ seniors and advocates today about her legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) and emphasized how the bill recognizes the needs of LGBTQ seniors. 

 

Bonamici held a roundtable discussion at Friendly House in Portland to discuss the bill. Her reauthorization legislation includes new provisions for LGBTQ seniors, who are more likely to live in poverty and lack a family support system.

 

“This bill addresses social and cultural barriers that could keep LGBTQ seniors from living independently, and it ensures that they receive the services and care they deserve as they age,” Bonamici said.

 

Senior advocates and members of the group Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE) Metro Portland participated in the roundtable and discussed the unique needs of LGBTQ seniors.

 

“This was an informative discussion about how the OAA can and should provide support that all of our seniors need,” Bonamici said. “Americans are living longer. My legislation not only maintains critical resources, but also includes provisions that will help them thrive.”


The OAA funds programs like Meals on Wheels and homecare assistance. Bonamici introduced the legislation with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX). The Ranking Democratic member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman George Miller (D-CA), is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

 

“This bill reflects the changing demographic we are seeing among the elderly and takes steps to ensure that no senior is left vulnerable,” Bonamici said. “All Americans deserve to age with dignity and to live independently. LGBTQ seniors have unique needs that call for recognition in our policy.”

 

Friendly House, which hosted the event, provides a wide range of educational and recreational programs to the community, including many targeted to LGBT seniors.

 

“Reauthorization of the Older American’s Act (OAA) is a critical step in order to provide vital resources and services to those who need them most,” said Mya Chamberlin, Director of Community Services at Friendly House. “But it takes fearless visionaries, like Representative Bonamici, to lend their voice to the issues facing the most vulnerable, like LGBT older adults. We applaud Representative Bonamici’s efforts to expand the definition of ‘vulnerable constituencies’ under the OAA and believe that in this time of growing support for equal treatment of LGBT people under the law, with help from everyone from our national leaders to our local neighbors, LGBT older adults will not be excluded.”

 

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