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Montrose Center Breaks Ground on LGBTQ-Affirming Seniors Housing

112-unit complex in Houston’s Third Ward is a first for Texas.

The Montrose Center says it will soon begin construction on Texas’ first LGBTQ-affirming living center for low-income seniors.

The Law Harrington Senior Living Center, which was first announced in September 2018, was pushed back the following month when rising construction costs forced the developer to re-evaluate plans for the facility. After securing the necessary funding stream to start building—$23 million from grants, tax credits, and community donations—the Center plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony at 2222 Cleburne Street on August 6.

Kennedy Loftin

“We have had amazing amounts of support from our community,” Montrose Center chief development officer Kennedy Loftin says. “So much so that the Montrose Center can now offer LGBTQ seniors an affordable place to live with their partners, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, knowing that they will not face discrimination.” 

On June 20, the Montrose Center finalized the necessary funding to start construction. In addition to receiving $13.8 million in federal subsidies, it was also granted $5.1 million in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) funding from the City of Houston’s Department of Housing & Community Development, and a land donation valued at over $5 million.

The Center has also raised more than $5 million from community donations, and will continue to raise money for the project through its “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign, co-chaired by former mayor Annise Parker and State representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston). 

Designed by Smith & Company Architects, the complex will feature 112 one- and two-bedroom living units, and eligible seniors ages 62 and older will pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent.  

The facility will work to alleviate the problem of LGBTQ seniors housing discrimination. According to the national LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit SAGE, 48 percent of older same-sex couples have experienced housing discrimination, and one-third of LGBTQ seniors live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of them are being priced out of LGBTQ-affirming neighborhoods such as Montrose. 

“LGBTQ seniors are more vulnerable than their [cisgender and heterosexual] peers, and are twice as likely to age in social isolation,” Loftin says. “Many who are forced to move into the suburbs go back into the closet just to live, and in turn experience negative behavioral-health issues. This is not something we should ask of the people who built our community.”

Located about a mile-and-a-half east of the Montrose Center in Houston’s Third Ward, the property will include a social-services department, a geriatric primary-care clinic provided by Legacy Community Health, a group dining area, game rooms, a fitness center, a dog park, a vegetable garden, and outdoor recreational spaces.  

While the Montrose Center is not yet taking applications for the housing project, folks can get updates on the facility online and in person at the SPRY Montrose Diner, a luncheon program for LGBTQ seniors held at the Montrose Center, 401 Branard Street. 

Loftin says that the Center still needs about $2.5 million to fully fund the project. To donate, go here

What: Law Harrington Senior Living Center Groundbreaking
When:  August 6, 10:30 a.m.
Where: 2222 Cleburne Street

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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