The project, which broke ground in 2019, is co-chaired by former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who will both be in attendance for the 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting along with current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
As an LGBTQ-affirming center, the LHSC offers specific programs and policies to support LGBTQ residents and protect them from discrimination. However, the facility is not strictly limited to LGBTQ residents.
As a federally funded affordable housing project, the center is open to anyone who meets the age and income requirements. Individuals or couples qualify for housing if they are over the age of 62 and living between 30%-60% of the area median income. Rent prices are adjusted based on residents’ incomes with a one-bedroom apartment costing anywhere from $395 to $839 a month, said Kennedy Loftin, chief development officer at the Montrose Center.
Loftin said the LHSC partnered with the Third Ward neighborhood, where the center is located, so it could serve both LGBTQ seniors in Montrose and African American seniors facing rapid gentrification in the Third Ward.
“We're really excited that this facility can create a space for those seniors that built those neighborhoods close to their cultural institutions,” Loftin said.
Residents have been moving in since January, before construction was completed. As of the end of May, 12 of the 112 one- and two-bedroom units were still unfilled. Loftin said they anticipate the living center to be fully occupied by the grand opening.
The grand opening ceremony will be an official Pride event but will also follow the project’s campaign theme, “There’s no place like home.”
“It's very important to us that it is not exclusively Pride themed because we really also want to honor all of the Third Ward residents that happen to not be LGBTQ with a theme and a message that very much signals to them that this is just as much their home,” Loftin said.
The LHSC has one of the largest amenity spaces of any LGBTQ-affirming living center, including popular garden areas and a dog park, according to Loftin. The entire facility is pet friendly. Some amenities have yet to open due to COVID-19, including the fitness center, the multipurpose room and the library, Loftin said.
Opened this March in partnership with Legacy Community Health, the facility also includes an on-site clinic that focuses on geriatric health care and offers services for seniors living with HIV. The clinic is open to both residents and seniors in the surrounding community.
Loftin said the inspiration for the center was to support this generation of the LGBTQ+ community.
“What Montrose Center is really trying to do is create the city that we all want to grow old in and to really help Houston become a place where LGBTQ seniors can retire,” Loftin said.