Albert H. Fulcher
There is a new housing project underway in Palm Springs, exclusively for providing LGBTQ seniors with a place to live openly and safe from hostility. Living Out Palm Springs is the first luxury, active-living development to be designed by, invested in and created for LGBTQ seniors to address the needs of LGBTQ people entering the next chapter of their lives. The project will break ground this fall in the heart of Palm Springs – already a vibrant LGBTQ and retirement destination.
Koar International owner Loren Ostrow and Living Out Director of Marketing LuAnn Boylan are heavily involved in the LGBTQ community. Among a handful of leadership roles, most notable, “Bothe have served the board of directors/trustees for the LA LGBT Center for more than 20 year.” Their collective passion plays a central role in understanding the needs that Living Out Palm Springs meets.
Ostrow explained that while most people want to live in a safe, welcoming environment, there are a lot of places unsafe and/or unwelcoming to LGBTQ people. So he began working on the idea for Living Out Palm Springs about 1 1/2 years ago. They expect to start construction this December or January 2020 and open in June 2021. Ostrow asked Boylan, who he knew through their long-time connection at the LA LGBT Center, to join him in the venture as marketing director.
When completed, Boylan said there will be 105 units available, all of which are configured into four different floor plans: two for one-bedroom units (1,200 square feet) and two for two-bedroom units (1,650 square feet). Prices start in the mid-$600,000s and range to just above $900,000, depending on the floor plan selected. Applications are now being accepted. It is a 55-plus community.
“We have already had a number of people contacting us saying to please let them know when we start [taking] reservations,” Boylan said.
Ostrow said that Palm Springs is its flagship property venture location, but his conversations with various business owners around the country are opening up the possibilities of developing similar housing for LGBTQ seniors across the nation.
“Obviously, there is a great need in the community for safe places for people in the LGBTQ community,” Ostrow said. “Whenever I talk about this idea, I can’t count the times that gay people have said to me, ‘I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been wondering what is going to happen to me when I get older. Where am I going to live? Where is going to be safe for me?’ It’s in the back, if not the front, of everybody’s mind.”
Ostrow explained that some LGBTQ community members have familial support and others do not but whether they have the capacity to care for themselves, or require assistance, the reality is that many of those people who are now seniors do not have support from family members. LGBTQ seniors run the risk of living alone and feeling isolated even more than the average member of the senior community.
“There are people that live in Palm Springs, which is a very supportive community itself,” Ostrow said. “Yet, as they get older, they are living in their own place, even in a nice development or area, but they are on their own. And they are concerned [about] what happens to them as they get older. That’s what we are trying to address.”
Boylan said in talking with people, one conversation she had in particular really hit home.
“A fellow just turned 76,” Boylan said. “He was born and raised in California but has been out of state for some time and his dream is to be able to come home. He does not have a family and he doesn’t have a partner. His long-time partner passed away and he finds himself moving forward, not knowing what forward looks like. His conversation with me, was he knows that what makes people age quicker is getting depressed and feeling alone.”
Boylan said they are planning for Living Out Palm Springs to be a place where residents can socialize, feel like a part of a community, and bask in a sense of companionship. And Ostrow said the housing project has an entire array of amenities that address the needs of the community.
“It is really an amenity-rich property,” Ostrow said. “We are built on 9 acres, so we had the luxury to do a lot of outside space. We have a resort-style pool, exercise pool, pickle ball court, bocce ball court, a putting green, a restaurant for people that live there, a piano bar, movie theater, a gym, a lounge area with a Starbucks kind of operation where people can gather during the day. And I think one of the most exciting things that we are doing is putting in a dog park for the residents. One section for small dogs and one section for large dogs. It will be connected to a retail building that will have a pet services retail business where people can buy pet food, pet supplies, grooming, a day care and overnight hotel for pets. It allows people to be with their pets, live with their pets and have all of this right here as part of the project.”
Boylan said with all of the amenities offered in this project, you won’t have to leave the community, but if you desire to, it is located within a short walking distance of Palm Canyon Drive (Palm Springs’ main thoroughfare) so people can easily walk to restaurants, shops or hang out spots. “That’s sort of the best of both worlds,” Boylan said.
“Since we started taking reservations, we’ve had a lot of opportunity to talk to a lot of people and it has been very reassuring and a great feeling to have so many people express their gratitude for them being able to have a choice and this kind of environment,” Boylan continued. “That’s been very rewarding to me.”
For more information, visit https://livingout.com/