Kent Loftin, chief development officer for the Montrose Center, said There's No Place Like Home is a nearly $24 million project that could break ground as early as 2018.
"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," he said.
The Montrose Center, an LGBTQ resource organization, is leading the project. The planned 112-unit retirement facility will include traditional retirement home amenities and an activity center.
"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," Loftin said.
Loftin said gay seniors have challenges; many were not able to develop open relationships and families in their younger years and they struggle once they reach retirement. That coupled with rising rent in the Montrose neighborhood, an historic hub for gay culture in Houston, has placed a burden on many reaching retirement age in the local LGBTQ community.
"They lost their friends and partners in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and they faced a lot of workplace discrimination," he said.
With the help of a $3.5 million land grant for the property from the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, construction is tentatively set to start early next year.
Its location at 2222 Cleburne is blocks away from Montrose in the Third Ward, another area that needs solutions for senior living. The facility will be open to all but specifically accommodating to LGBTQ seniors, Loftin said.
"They are the greatest generation, and whether they're in the gay community or any other vulnerable community, we need to do better at taking care of them," he added.
There are Wizard of Oz-themed launch parties set for June 3 and 4 at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. More information on the event will be available at montrosecenter.org.
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