A new niche is opening up for cohousing communities focused on seniors who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, an article in RealtorMag reported last week.
One such community in Durham, North Carolina, is already under works, having broken ground in November 2018 with a completion date set for April 2020.
The community, called the Village Hearth Cohousing development, will come with 28 single-story homes located on a 15-acre wooded site just 15 minutes drive from downtown Durham. The eco-friendly homes are being designed as quadplexes to save money on construction and energy, and will range from 650 square feet to 1,150 square feet. The idea is that the proximity of the homes to one another will help foster a better sense of camaraderie, RealtorMag reported.
Other features in the community include a 2,600 square-foot common house that comes with a dining/meeting room and kitchen, plus a sitting area, art and exercise room. There will also be a dog park in the community, as well as walking trails and a fire pit. Already, 25 of the 28 homes have been sold, with the owners ranging in age from 55 years old to 73 years old.
Cofounder of the community Pat McAulay told RealtorMag the idea is to try and fill a gap in the market. She said that LGBT seniors often lack the family support that straight seniors have due to not having children, or being ostracized by other family members.
“Sadly, they may feel the need to go back into the closet in mainstream retirement, assisted living and nursing home communities,” McAulay said. “Loneliness is an epidemic for all elders, but LGBT elders are far more likely to live alone and not have anyone they can call upon.”
However, McAulay said the community would also welcome straight buyers who have the right attitude.
“We see the value of being ‘good neighbors’ in an environment where we can choose our own balance of privacy and community,” she said.
McCamant & Durrett Architects designed the community, where the homes are being sold at between $299,000 and $409,000. The largest home in the community will come with two master suites for people interested in co-buying or home-sharing. Some units will also be available as rentals.
McAulay said she and her team had to overcome several challenges to make the community a reality, noting that co-housing is a niche market, and that LGBT co-housing for seniors is therefore “even more of a niche.”