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Manchester City Council, a large Labour-controlled authority, say the scheme will provide much-needed affordable housing.
The intention is the site will allow older LGBT+ residents to live independently within a ‘safe and vibrant’ community tailored to their needs.
More than 100 apartments are being built to offer “extra care” to people in this community aged 55 and over, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Anchor Hanover, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for older people, will deliver the scheme.
Built on the site of an old hospital in Whalley Range, Manchester, the apartments will be a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures and the scheme will also feature on-site services, such as care and catering.
But some people online suggested the site will only lead to further “segregation” of communities.
One man wrote: “Self imposed segregation…. seems like a set backwards to me.”
Another Facebook user added: “Surely this is segregation! Makes no sense.”
One commenter said: “This is the absolute opposite of inclusion.”
Councillor Suzanne Richards, the council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “Extra Care housing has proven hugely popular and this first of a kind LGBT+ scheme on Russell Road is an important addition to our Extra Care offer in the city.
“This scheme is part of a programme of 730 extra care homes built in the past few years for older people in the city.
“Crucial for us is that these schemes are accessible to and affordable for Manchester people.”
It is estimated there are more than 7,000 LGBT+ people across Manchester over the age of 50.
The project will be developed in collaboration with a local Community Steering Group, which will be made up of members of the Council, Councillors, local residents and members of the LGBT communities.
The scheme has also been co-produced with LGBT Foundation who have received additional funding from Homes England to produce an online Learning Journal about the history of the Manchester scheme.
It is hoped the journal will help other Councils and cities in developing further LGBT+ Extra Care schemes across the country.
Paul Martin OBE, CEO LGBT Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to see the LGBT Extra Care Scheme move forward into the next stages of development.
“Everyone deserves to have access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel secure and welcome.
“Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life
“This scheme is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities and the Learning Journal will track our journey and share recommendations for other schemes that will follow.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s lead member for adult health and well-being, said: “Manchester was proud to be the first place in the country to announce such a scheme so it’s great to see this scheme come to fruition.
“Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT people.
“We’ve been working closely with the LGBT Foundation and local people for some time to ensure the site, location, the principles of the scheme, and eventual design principles work – both for the LGBT+ community, but also for the local people in Whalley Range.
“We already know LGBT+ people are more likely to be lonely later in life, and as this community is growing, it shows that this Extra Care is not only welcome but absolutely needed.”
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