Safe and affordable housing for LGBT seniors is a growing hot topic among advocates working for aging LGBT populations. New projects across the country are seeking to bring solutions to the table, particularly in the form of LGBT-friendly housing developments.
The growing conversation around safe housing for LGBT seniors is being sparked by increased needs among an aging LGBT population. Advocates with the national Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE) report that LGBT elders face higher risk of financial insecurity and a lack of safe and affirming affordable housing. Many LGBT elders also face harassment and intimidation in long-term care facilities. In response, community groups across the country have begun educating local housing providers. In larger cities, whole developments are being built specifically for LGBT seniors.
In Philadelphia, construction continues on the John C. Anderson Apartments, an LGBT-friendly senior housing project in the heart of Philadelphia’s gayborhood. When completed, the six-story building will house 56 units and have room for social events, meetings and gatherings.
The $19.5 million project in Philadelphia isn’t the only LGBT-friendly senior housing project. In Los Angeles, Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing was the first to provide a space for elders in their Triangle Square, a $21.5 million, 104-unit building housing mixed-income individuals with some units designated for seniors with HIV/AIDS and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. And, in Chicago, organizers are moving forward on plans to build a 79-unit, affordable housing development for seniors. Backed by a city land transfer and city funding, the building would give LGBT seniors a home at the heart of Chicago’s gayborhood.
In San Francisco, advocates with Openhouse and Mercy Housing California have been working since last summer to implement approved plans for a 110-unit development for LGBT seniors.
No doubt, the trend toward LGBT senior housing is mostly centered in larger metropolitan areas with significantly larger LGBT populations than those in cities like Charlotte and Raleigh. Yet, even in North Carolina, advocates are keeping an eye on the housing and other retirement needs of seniors.
Last fall, the LGBT Center of Raleigh’s Gay & Gray Initiative hosted a seminar on housing featuring Durham architect and developer Pat Harris, who has been brainstorming ways to meet housing needs for several years. In 2011, qnotes reported on her initial thoughts for senior housing in Durham (goqnotes.com/11451/). In Chapel Hill, retirement facilities like Carol Woods Retirement Community is turning their eye toward diversity and inclusion.
In Boone, CGR Development’s successful Carefree Cove is drawing more residents. Though the development doesn’t offer assisted living or other health-oriented services, the community has become popular with the retired, mature LGBT community. The 165-acre development has sold 70 of their total 87 lots. Twenty-five homes have already been built.
For more information on housing needs for LGBT seniors, visit sageusa.org/issues/housing.com. : :