It’s not Kansas, or even Oz, but “There’s No Place Like Home,” a senior living facility designed to provide a place for LGBTQ residents of Houston, Texas, is a “one-of-a-kind project for Houston and any other red state.”
ABC affiliate KTRK reports that the project, set to cost nearly $24 million, could break ground as early as next year. In the report, Kent Loftin, chief development officer for the Montrose Center, is quoted saying that “It will be the only center in Houston that is LGBTQ culturally competent. What that means is that seniors of the same sex can retire and age together.”
The Montrose Center is an LGBTQ resource organization and is heading up “There’s No Place Like Home,” which is planned to have 112 units. The retirement facility is also set to include traditional retirement home amenities and an activity center.
Loftin said in the report, “In the LGBTQ community, our seniors are particularly vulnerable. They are twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to not have any surviving social connections.” Pointing out that gay seniors face challenges that straight seniors do not have—such as having to hide relationships in the past, and not being able to openly have families—they “struggle” once they get to retirement without the support system that most straight seniors take for granted.
In addition, the Montrose neighborhood, known for its historic place in gay culture in Houston, has seen rents rise to a point where many of those hitting retirement age in the LGBTQ community are having a tough time dealing with the increases.
According to Loftin, the prospective residents “lost their friends and partners in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and they faced a lot of workplace discrimination,” which makes the prospect of retirement all the harder for them.
The project, which received a $3.5 million land grant for the property from the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, is hoped to begin construction early in 2018. While the facility will be open to all, Loftin said it will be specifically accommodating to LGBTQ seniors.
— Check out 15 Best U.S. Cities for LGBT Retirement on ThinkAdvisor.