The Montrose Center broke ground Tuesday on its affordable senior independent living center in Houston, as part of the organization's mission to empower primarily LGBTQ individuals and their families, to enjoy healthier and more fulfilling lives.
“Housing is one of the greatest financial challenges facing older adults across the country, particularly for LGBTQ seniors,” said Reymundo Ocañas, Director of Communications and Responsible Business for BBVA in the USA and one of the event’s featured speakers. “LGBTQ seniors are twice as likely to age alone and four times less likely to have the money needed for retirement in comparison to their heterosexual peers.” Ocañas added that many long-time senior residents of Montrose and Third Ward are seeing their rents and property taxes increase beyond their means.
Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA USA director of communications and responsible business, spoke on the financial challenges of LGBTQ seniors during the groundbreaking ceremony of Montrose Center's Law Harrington Senior Living Center in Houston on August 6.
The Law Harrington Senior Living Center will be open to all seniors who meet the income guidelines, offering specific services and programming for LGBTQ seniors and seniors living with HIV. The facility will be an affordable, LGBTQ-affirming senior living center featuring 112 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments for low-income individuals and couples who are 62 years and older. The building itself is estimated to open in 2021 and will bring additional affordable housing opportunities to the residents of Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood.
Exterior and interior renderings of the future Law Harrington Senior Living Center, slated to open in Houston's Third Ward community in 2021. - Courtesy of Smith & Company Architects
Eligible seniors who live in the center will not spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Additional features of the property will include: a social services department managed by the Montrose Center, geriatric primary care clinic provided by Legacy Community Health, a group dining area, meeting and game rooms, a fitness center, dog park, vegetable garden, and outdoor recreational spaces.
Ocañas: [This initiative is] an outward and physical manifestation of [BBVA's] dedication to diversity and inclusion, in the workplace and the communities where we live.
“BBVA is proud to provide financing for this important addition to the Montrose community and Third Ward,” said Ocañas. “This initiative, and others like it, reflects BBVA’s long-term commitment to bringing the age of opportunity to everyone. It’s also an outward and physical manifestation of our own dedication to diversity and inclusion, in the workplace and the communities where we live.”
A number of community representatives, both past and present, were also in attendance at the event, including City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, State Representative Garnet F. Coleman, and CEO of the Victory Fund and former Mayor Annise Parker.
About The Montrose Center
Although counseling remains at the heart of The Montrose Center, its services have expanded to meet the changing needs of its diverse community. These services include substance use disorder treatment, support and advocacy for LGBTQ survivors of violent crimes, care and assistance for people living with HIV, free community wellness programs and activities, and programs for its community’s most vulnerable and isolated—youth and seniors. The Montrose Center sits at the center of the LGBTQ community and serves as a gathering place for LGBTQ organizations and groups. The Montrose Center is a United Way Agency.