Your golden years should be spent doing the things you love, surrounded by a community who accepts you just the way you are. But, historically, this has been hard to achieve for many LGBTQ+ seniors.
Thankfully, times are changing.
As the number of out-and-proud queer people over 50 continues to grow—doubling to an estimated seven million by 2030, according to Sage, an organization that provides services and support for LGBTQ+ seniors—so will the demand for affordable senior housing that is accepting of all sexualities and gender identities. And, as it turns out, there are already a few in full swing.
From coast to coast, here are some of the best places to retire if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and don’t want to completely break the bank.
Openhouse in San Francisco, California
Best for: Proximity to a thriving neighborhood
Cost: Rent is based on the tenant’s income, which cannot exceed 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is essentially the median household income in San Francisco ($119,126).
San Francisco has a long history of activism, with one of the most vibrant LGBTQ+ communities in the nation. But, unfortunately, its exorbitant cost of living has made it nearly impossible for low- or middle-income queer folks to thrive there.
Enter Openhouse, which began offering affordable housing to LGBTQ+ seniors in 2016. It now has two locations with 52 affordable studios, 62 one-bedroom units and seven two-bedroom apartments, all located steps away from the Castro District—a famed spot for the queer community that celebrates LGBTQ+ culture through art and events. Amenities include full kitchens, high ceilings, public spaces and courtyards, and residents have access to tons of events and activities, such as support groups, mindfulness meditations and writing groups.
Town Hall Apartments in Chicago, Illinois
Best for: City living
Cost: Residents must earn between 50% and 80% of the median household income ($62,097). Available subsidies mean tenants will spend less than 30% of their income on rent.
This historic police station now operates as an affordable apartment complex (in Chicago’s trendy Lakeview neighborhood) for LGBTQ+ folks who are 55 and older. The Town Hall Apartments have a mix of studios and one-bedrooms among its 79 units. For those who are eager to get out and enjoy what the city has to offer, the complex is ideally located near retail shops, religious centers, public transit and Lake Michigan’s beaches and parks. Not to mention, there are beautiful views of the city and Wrigley Field from the apartments’ floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a landscaped terrace, fitness center, private family-sized dining room and a computer lab.
Stonewall House In Brooklyn, New York
Best for: LGBTQ+ friendship and community
Cost: Residents must earn 50% or less of the median household income ($67,046) and do not have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent thanks to subsidies.
Named after the famous Stonewall riots of 1969, Stonewall House made history as New York State’s first LGBTQ+-affirming affordable housing development for seniors. Located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn’s beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood, the retirement locale opened its doors in 2019 and is now the largest development of its kind in the United States.
Nurturing a supportive community is everything at Stonewall. “The elders who live in the building are a close group and run a tenant advisory council, host their own events and generally watch out for each other,” says David Vincent, SAGE’s Chief Program Officer. “Another huge perk is a state-of-the-art SAGE Center located on the ground floor of the building, which provides programs, services and meals to all LGBTQ+ elders.”
John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best For: Pet-lovers
Cost: Between $843 and $977 per month
For those in the Philadelphia area, the John C. Anderson Apartments (JCA) offer a place to call home for LGBTQ+-affirming seniors over the age of 62 who earn well below the area median income. All apartments offered are one-bedroom units and residents can choose from one of two floor plans. Amenities include fully stocked modern kitchens, a community room, a patio and a roof deck. Located in the heart of Center City, the apartments are near the Avenue of the Arts, William Way Community Center and numerous options for shopping and dining. Bonus: JCA is pet-friendly for those with furry companions.
Triangle Square Senior Apartments in Los Angeles, California
Best for: On-site activities
Cost: Rent depends on the tenant’s income, but the maximum price for a one-bedroom unit is $1,227, while a two-bedroom unit is between $1,280 and $1,546.
Located in the heart of Hollywood, you’ll find the Triangle Square Senior Apartments, the nation’s first affordable LGBTQ+ housing development for those 62 years and older made up of private, individual apartment homes. You can choose between one- or two-bedroom units, all of which are energy-efficient with European-style cabinets, and look out over an open-air courtyard with a pool.
The community room is open to all residents and more than 70 gatherings, both social and educational, are hosted there each month. Other amenities include a fitness center, arts and crafts room, a computer lab, and a yoga and an aerobics studio. A reduced-cost lunch program is also available to residents Monday through Friday, and on-site social services, like legal aid and general support, are provided by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which aims to address the specific needs of the queer community.
Not only is this complex near the Hollywood Walk of Fame and other popular attractions, but it’s also close to the Hollywood farmer’s market, and residents have easy access to public transportation.
Michelle Ranken is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who’s covered every topic under the sun—from city planning in Seattle to foreign affairs.
Millie content is licensed from Dotdash Meredith, publisher of Millie, Real Simple, InStyle, Investopedia, The Balance and more.