May 19, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

LGBTQ+ Senior Housing in Gay Paradise

More than 39 million people in the U.S. are age 65 years or older including 2.4 million people who identify as LGBTQ+, according to the American Psychology Association. 

As the baby boomer generation ages, the senior population will increase from 12.8 percent to an estimated 19 percent in 2030. Psychological service providers and care givers for older adults need to be sensitive to the histories and concerns of LGBTQ folks and to be open-minded, affirming and supportive towards LGBT older adults to ensure accessible, competent, quality care. As GBTQ people age, they find themselves facing unique challenges, including access to information and resources, as well as isolation and loneliness. That’s where Living Out Palm Springs comes in.  

“Knowing that too many LGBTQ seniors live in unsafe or even openly hostile environments, we wanted to address this issue that is near and dear to us by creating a safe and beautiful community for those 55 and over. The Living Out development will be the first of its kind in the Southern California area,” said Living Out co-founder and creator Loren S. Ostrow. “Living Out Palm Springs was designed by, invested in and created by members of our community who recognize the unique needs we face as we begin the next chapters of our lives.”

Los Angeles-based real estate development company KOAR International LLC, announced recently that Living Out Palm Springs – an active retirement community designed to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ adults – will break ground this fall.

Living Out Palm Springs will provide a safe, supportive and enriched environment in which LGBTQ seniors can live openly and thrive, according to a press release. LGBTQ seniors currently face very limited options for welcoming and inclusive senior living environments. Living Out communities will celebrate the LGBTQ aging experience in a way that has yet to be realized. Living Out Palm Springs will be ideal for seniors who live in, travel to or would like to have a second home with resort-like amenities in the celebrated desert community of Palm Springs.

The Pride LA spoke with Ostrow on what residents can expect. Check it out: 

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Loren Ostrow. I am a real estate attorney and developer. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center for more than 20 years, the National LGBTQ Task Force for nine years and the Board of Trustees of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood. My business partner of 40 years, Paul Alanis, has been an extraordinary ally over our four decades of association.  

Luann Boylan recently joined us Marketing Director for the Living Out project. LuAnn has served with Loren on the LGBTQ Center’s Board for over 27 years.

In one sentence what is Living Out?

Living Out is a luxury condominium community for active LGBTQ 55+ persons in Palm Springs; a community designed to provide LGBTQ seniors a safe, welcoming, inclusive experience where they can live comfortably out as an LGBTQ person.

Can you elaborate more?

Living Out is a nine-acre oasis designed to provide its residents with a five-star, resort-style living experience in historic Palm Springs. Architecturally, Living Out is authentic to its surroundings, referencing the iconic Mid-Century Modern style for which Palm Springs is famous. Our homes feature open floor plans, large lanais, elegant appointments and an exceptional attention to detail, all wrapped in magnificently landscaped grounds and stunning desert mountain views. 

At the heart of the Living Out concept is the element of community and we have incorporated opportunities throughout the property for people to come together and enjoy “being home.” Some of the amenities we are providing that encourage the building of community include:

  • Resort-style lagoon pool
  • Lap pool and spa
  • 4 pickleball courts
  • 2 bocce ball courts
  • Putting green
  • Community BBQ and fire pit areas
  • Lushly landscaped dog park
  • Casual dining restaurant
  • Piano bar
  • Private screening room
  • State-of-the-art gym
  • Game room
  • Card room
  • Community gathering room
  • Grab-and-go coffee shop and community workspace

In short, Living Out has been designed to be the home you have always wanted and the community every LGBTQ person deserves.

Why is there a need for such housing in Palm Springs?

While straight individuals have many opportunities available to them for retirement communities, LGBTQ 55+ people have virtually no opportunities to live openly and comfortably.  Unfortunately, one hears stories of LGBTQ individuals and couples being ostracized or discriminated against in the broader retirement world, often being forced back into the closet.

While Palm Springs is one of the most supportive environments for LGTBQ people in the country, as one ages the sense of loneliness can be palpable and I hope to provide a community within a community where people can live comfortably and safely.

What is the story behind the creation of Living Out?

I have been thinking about this issue for over 30 years knowing that the LGBTQ community would age as does the general community. Having served on the Board of the LA Center since 1993, I have seen the glaring disparities in the opportunities for LGBTQ people to live in safe, inclusive environments as they age.  

Of course, there are non-profit agencies, like the Center, that provide services for LGBTQ seniors who are less financially able to provide for themselves. However, it occurred to me, there are very few options available to members of our community who are financially independent and would like to live in an LGBTQ-focused community that is supportive of and, in fact, celebrates living authentically. Living Out has been designed to be that option.

In what ways does Living Out create an inclusive and safe environment for LGBTQ+ seniors?  

Celebrating living authentically is the core concept of Living Out, not a byproduct or an afterthought. To create an environment where that concept can be realized requires infusing all of our efforts with a consciousness about what it means to be inclusive and what it takes to feel safe. That has been made possible, in part, by having Living Out envisioned by, designed by, and invested in by members of the LGBTQ community who recognize the unique needs our community faces as we begin the next chapter of our lives. This consciousness translates into creating living and community spaces that are open, inviting and purposefully designed to support the concept of community, while offering the safety of knowing you are in an environment that is not “in spite of you” but is “because of you.”

What’s in store for Living Out’s future?

Living Out Palm Springs will break ground in December of this year and will take approximately 18 months to complete, making our move-in date as early as June, 2021 but no later than September, 2021. And, as Palm Springs is being completed, Living Out is exploring and developing other venues for active LGBTQ seniors across the country. 

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