Apartment Trends: Affordable LBGT-Friendly Senior Housing

LGBT friendly housing

Image by National Assembly for Wales/ Cynulliad Cymru via Flickr

The results of a recent study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that same-sex couples are facing discrimination when it comes to searching for housing on the internet. While there’s work that needs to be done to eliminate housing discrimination in the LGBT community, there are strides being made: gay rights organizations are partnering up with developers to construct affordable, LGBT friendly housing for seniors. Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C. have laws that forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation, but federal housing laws don’t list those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender as a protected class.

According to the New York-based group Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, there are at least 1.5 million LGBT seniors, a number that’s predicted to double by 2030. Unfortunately, discrimination and disrespect in senior housing facilities towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender seniors is a very real issue. The CEO of the Center on Halsted LGBT group in Chicago voiced the need for gay-friendly nursing homes and living centers due seniors being ostracized and bullied once caregivers and residents learn of their sexual orientation. Gay rights organizations around the country are realizing the need for affordable, LGBT-friendly senior housing, and they’re partnering with developers to construct these apartment communities.

In 2005, the Los-Angeles based Alliance for Diverse Aging Community Services formed Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) to build the Triangle Square-Hollywood apartment complex in Los Angeles, the nation’s first affordable housing community for gay seniors. The property saw a waiting list of 800 renters, and is currently fully occupied by 112 residents. GLEH is now working on another 40-unit LGBT-friendly senior housing complex, The Argyle Apartments, also located in Los Angeles. The development is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2014.

In Philadelphia, PA, the LGBT group dmhFund and Penrose Properties have started construction on the John C. Anderson seniors facility, a six-story, 56-unit affordable housing complex. Chicago, IL, officials have also recently approved a gay-friendly senior development in the city’s Lake View neighborhood. The 79-unit complex is planned to open by 2015.

Gay-only housing is prohibited by housing discrimination laws, so these LGBT-friendly apartments accept seniors of all sexual orientation. Their goal is to create a tolerant, welcoming atmosphere where all seniors are accepted and free to be themselves.

Related: Read our blog post about how to market to senior renters. Or catch up on other apartment trends by reading about car-sharingbike-friendly communitiesextreme amenities, and apartment buildings designed to promote healthier lifestyles.