Living Out LGBTQ+ Palm Springs Retirement Community

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Finding a retirement community that truly feels like home is often difficult for seniors, but the challenge is especially acute for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer seniors. Nearly half of senior LGBTQ+ couples have said they have been abused when looking for housing, according to the non-profit organization Equal Rights Center. About a third fear having to shut down during retirement.

“There are hardly any places where LGBTQ people can retire in comfort, safety and a sense of community,” said Loren Ostrow, CEO of KOAR International. The developer recently opened a new apartment community for LGBTQ+ seniors in Palm Springs. Called Living Out, it is KOAR’s first LGBTQ+ development, and one of many independent living communities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender retirees across the country.

What do you want to know

  • Living Out is a new self-contained retirement community for LGBTQ+ seniors in Palm Springs
  • The 122-unit apartment complex is designed to be a safe and comfortable place for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer seniors
  • The resort includes a movie theater, fitness center, game room, hair salon, dog park, and restaurant operated by Susan Feniger.
  • Living Out is expected to open in spring 2023

While the number of Americans retiring is expected to double over the next ten years as baby boomers exit the workforce, and with more than 2 million LGBTQ+ seniors joining their ranks by 2060, Ostrow sees Living Out as a solution.

“You unfortunately hear stories about people going to mainstream properties and they hide their photographs that show their life as an LGBTQ person,” he said. “They are not treated well by the people who work there. They are not treated well by the other residents. I want to change that so there are other opportunities for LGBTQ people to retire in a community of like-minded people.

Ostrow, who is 70, was a commercial real estate lawyer turned property developer who is also gay. In addition to building hotels and casinos across the country, he has served on the board of directors of the LGBTQ Center in Hollywood since 1993. He also served on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which led a group think tank that examined the needs of LGBTQ seniors in the early 2000s. The idea for Living Out, he said, has been in the works for 25 years.

“You often hear LGBTQ people say that when we get older, we’ll live in a common home and take care of each other,” Ostrow said, adding community members often don’t have families to turn to. as they age. older because their sexual orientation has alienated them. “In a sense, what I’m doing is just a bigger, more professional version.”

Designed with an upscale resort sensibility in a mid-century modern style, the 122-unit Living Out complex will have several on-site amenities, including a movie theater, fitness center, game room, a massage room, a hair salon, a nail salon and a full-service restaurant and bar operated by THE restaurateur, Susan Feniger.

“I’ve always believed that food brings people together,” Feniger told Spectrum News 1. “Through food, we connect and build community. Living Out Palm Springs builds community for LGBTQ seniors as we are entering the next chapter of our lives.I want to share my lifelong passion for food and provide the best dining experience to residents and visitors of Living Out.

The grounds will have covered parking for all residents, a swimming pool, three jacuzzi areas, pétanque courts, a putting green, walking paths and a pet park with an adjacent pet care facility for grooming, daycare and boarding.

“As a former physical educator and coach who leads an active lifestyle, having access to activities that allow me to be part of a community is very valuable to me,” said Wendy Marks, a New York resident who has deposited a deposit of $1,000. to book a Living Out apartment. About half of the property’s units have been booked so far. “Being from New York, having the opportunity to live in one of my favorite sunny cities and be part of this active, safe and dynamic environment is the experience I seek as I plan my next adventure.”

The nine-acre property will house luxury apartments in four different layouts, ranging from one-bedroom units measuring 1,100 square feet to two-bedroom units with 1,400 to 1,700 square feet of space. Each apartment will have a balcony or patio and a den. The units will be rented, not sold, with monthly leases ranging from $4,500 to nearly $8,000, which Ostrow says is competitive with other properties in the greater desert region.

Ostrow said he chose Palm Springs because it’s already a comfortable environment for gay retirees. While the desert town 100 miles east of Los Angeles has long been known for its embrace of the LGBTQ+ community and its elderly population, he believes there’s still a need for a place like Living Out. , with all its amenities and services and a building- in a nearby community of people who have had similar experiences.

“As you get older, no matter where you are, you tend to isolate yourself more in your home. It’s just the way in the world that people don’t come to you often. They don’t go out as much and don’t interact so much, so you still have that sadness of isolation even in a community like Palm Springs,” he said.

To entice people out of their living units, a daily continental breakfast is served in the living room and included in the rent.

“I hope people will come and meet other residents and become friends and then they will go out and play pétanque or go to the green or take a walk in the beautiful gardens or go to the swimming pool,” he said. .

He also hopes people who don’t live on the property will come to Living Out to dine at Feniger’s on-site restaurant, creating more opportunities to connect. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. It just gets harder to succeed as you get older. Living Out is an attempt to fill that void. Currently under construction, the LGBTQ+ apartment community is expected to open next spring.

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