NY Times: LGBT Retirement Communities Struggling in Recession

Hailed by some in the gay and lesbian community as “safe havens,” many LGBT-friendly retirement communities are struggling to survive, reports the New York Times.

For example, RainbowVision, in Santa Fe, N.M., voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June of 2011 after facing financial problems when many condominium owners stopped paying what they considered to be overpriced condo fees.

Other communities throughout the United States, either open or in various stages of development, have fallen on hard times, says the Times, as “victims of a weakened housing market, a deflated economy and, in some cases, poor business decisions.”

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“They were once hailed as havens where the so-called Stonewall generation—the first “out” group of senior citizens—could age without being treated with hostility or forced back into the closet,” says the article.

But now communities in or near Austin, Tex., Boston, Mass., and Phoenix, Ariz. are unable to open their doors due to a lack of finances and a decline in real estate values; a Portland, Ore. community is struggling with 25% occupancy, while another Florida community also recently filed for bankruptcy, reports the Times.

“It’s very concerning to see places like RainbowVision having trouble, both because older people need them and because they’re an important community institution,” the article quotes Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for G.L.B.T. Elders), as saying.

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Just like the rest of their generation, many LGBT seniors are hesitant or unable to sell their homes during the economic crisis, which limits the amount of potential residents for these communities, says the Times.

Read the full article here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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