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San Francisco First in Nation to Fund Services for Transgender Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

News Release

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today San Francisco became the first city in the nation to fund services specifically for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) older adults and adults with disabilities. The services will focus on providing programming and social services for these populations in a supportive and gender-affirming environment.

The Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) has granted approximately $1 million over three years to create programs centered on fostering community, creating social connections, and addressing unmet social service needs for TGNC seniors and adults with disabilities.

“We are proud that San Francisco continues to lead the country in providing comprehensive programs and policies that support our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor London Breed. “This first of its kind program will provide much-needed support tailored for trans seniors and adults with disabilities who often experience higher rates of discrimination and isolation.”

DAS conducted Community Needs Assessments that found LGBTQ+ populations participate in DAS services at lower rates than the overall population. Participation in these services is even less for the City’s older and disabled TGNC residents.

For TGNC older adults and adults with disabilities, there is an added layer of complexity in accessing services. Experiences of stigma or discrimination have contributed to an environment of mistrust, especially in health and social service settings. People often feel safer and more comfortable participating in services with other TGNC community members or at organizations that employ TGNC staff. 

DAS is partnering with nonprofit community providers Openhouse and Curry Senior Center to create these vital support programs.

“We are so excited to be able to provide services for transgender communities of older people and adults with disabilities,” stated Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the Department of Disability and Aging Services. “These programs will help bring our neighbors into supportive services and connect them with resources that will help them age with dignity within their communities.”

“Trans rights today are due to the efforts of our trans seniors who paved the way for equality,” said Clair Farley, Director of the Office of Trans Initiatives. “We owe it to them and the future of our movement to ensure our communities can age with dignity and joy. Our elders deserve to age-connected with their chosen family, in San Francisco, the city they love and call home.”

“We hear from TGNC seniors that the current system of care does not meet their needs or support aging in community,” stated Dr. Karyn Skultety, Executive Director of Openhouse. “We are grateful to DAS and the City of San Francisco for investing in change, and we intend to better serve TGNC older adults by listening and following the leadership of the TGNC community. We are deeply fortunate to have trans-led organizational partners working beside us, and we are beyond thankful to the TGNC communities and seniors who are giving us a chance to better serve the community.”

“We are grateful for the City’s ongoing investment in our trans community,” said Toni Newman, Executive Director of St. James Infirmary. “Together with Openhouse, Curry Senior Center, and our partners, we are working to ensure trans and gender-nonconforming seniors and trans adults with disabilities have access to inclusive housing and vital resources so our communities can thrive at any age.”        

For more information, please visit DAS Benefits and Resource Hub, Openhouse or Curry Senior Center.

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About the Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS)

As one of the departments within the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA), DAS provides services for older adults, veterans, people with disabilities and their caregivers to maximize their safety, health, and independence. The DAS Benefits and Resources Hub streamlines access to services by providing information and making connections to services throughout the City. With a single call to (415) 355-6700 or a visit to 2 Gough Street, you can learn about and apply for available services. DAS and HSA’s larger network of supportive services is dedicated to helping San Franciscans achieve their full potential through all stages of life.

Contact info

Joe Molica
(415) 557-6682