PALM SPRINGS — The City of Palm Springs will soon see a first-of-its kind for LGBTQ senior housing — A resort-style senior living community that caters exclusively to LGBTQ adults.
Living Out Palm Springs will be built by Los Angeles-based developers Loren S. Ostrow and Paul Alanis of KOAR International. The pair have previously worked in the development of hotels and casinos.
LuAnn Boylan is in charge of marketing and sales of the LGBTQ senior living community, which includes 105 luxury condos. The one bedroom-one bathroom units are 1,300 square feet, and the two bedroom-two bathroom condos range from 1,550 to 1,600 square feet. Prices start at $699,000.
Boylan and Ostrow have known each other approximately 30 years and are board members at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“We hear stories all the time about people who are discriminated against from the senior communities they live in, whether it’s from other residents or from the staff,” Ostrow, 68, said in an interview with Q Voice News. “Sometimes people have to hide photographs in their own homes, photographs of them with their partners, so people don’t know they’re in a same-sex relationship.”
Living Out Palm Springs is located on approximately nine acres along East Tahquitz Canyon Way, a short distance west of Palm Springs International Airport. The project will offer a substantial amenities package:
- Casual dining restaurant and bar
- Secure residential parking and storage
- Private screening room
- Massage studio
- Private salon
- Community lounge with coffee bar, prepared food options, yogurt bar and workspace
- Resort-style swimming pool
- Lap pool and spa
- State-of-the-art fitness center
- Putting green
- Bocce ball courts
- Pickle ball courts
- Outdoor BBQ and entertainment areas
- Pet park for large and small dogs adjacent to a full-service pet facility (retail, grooming, boarding, and daycare)
Palm Springs has become a retirement destination as well as a favored vacation get away for the LGBTQ community.
Construction for Living Out Palm Springs will begin in January 2020 with the aim of a summer 2021 opening.
Boylan said that living in a community that offers LGBTQ senior housing helps people feel safe.
“Not just physically safe, but emotionally safe,” Boylan, 72, said in a separate interview. “I don’t have to think about walking out the door, and if it’s safe to hold my partner’s hand.
“This type of community is a no brainer,” Boylan said. “It makes people feel good. People don’t need to second guess.”
According to SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), when compared to older heterosexual adults, LGBTQ seniors are twice as likely to live alone; half as likely to have life partners or significant others; half as likely to have close relatives to call for help; and are themselves caregivers for older loved ones, but four times less likely to have children to help them.
The challenges for LGBTQ seniors is finding a place to call home that is inclusive and relative free of discrimination, which can be a daunting task. In some states, it seems virtually impossible.
These challenges are exacerbated by a lack of federal housing protections based on sexual identity and gender identity.
While many strides have been made toward equality, Boylan and Ostrow said discrimination at non-LGBTQ communities can cause LGBTQ seniors to hide their authentic selves, decades after they were the first generation to come out.
“I don’t want people to have to live their older years in fear,” Ostrow said. “For them to have to go back into the closet is an idea that I detest.”
Boylan added: “We are the generation that came out. We risked losing our jobs, family and friends. We have the right to live authentically. We are taking care of our own.”
For more information, Living Out Palm Springs.