It might sound like the plot of a movie—a number of young 20-somethings move in with a bunch of senior citizens, but for a new housing complex being planned out in Hollywood, it will eventually be a reality. The Los Angeles LGBT Center has contributed $100 million dollars towards a new LGBT housing complex that will focus on the two most at-risk age groups of the LGBT community: those in their teens and early 20s and those who are over 60 years old.
The Supportive Benefits of Cohabitation
Many young people are homeless and may live on the streets after coming out (or being outed) to unsupporting families. They have nowhere to go, and while some do find their way to youth shelters and homeless shelters, others are unaware if such resources exist in their area or where they are. On the other end of the spectrum, LGBT senior citizens have been the target of discrimination and bullying in assisted living and other senior facilities, and they often feel out of place.
The creation of the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus will bring the two groups together, allowing them to feel comfortable and be themselves around others while at the same time forming friendships that might otherwise never be created. Because LGBT people are much, much less likely to have children, the senior citizens who move into the campus may not have formed any strong bonds with teens or young adults. Many also don’t have anyone to help care for them or simply sit down and talk with them.
The Connections Are There
With little connection between the generations in the LGBT community, some find that it is missing that family connection that many extended families have. One of the goals of the campus is to help create that connection. The older residents will be able to serve as mentors and guides to the younger generation. They’ll also have a chance to share their personal experiences with the battle for equality and the history of the LGBT community that they lived through.
On the other side, the young adults of the community may find comfort in having older LGBT residents living nearby. For those who have no contact with their families at all, these older residents may become parental-like figures. The younger members of the campus will also be able to help to help with some basic tasks and help their older neighbors become familiar with computers and social media.
As the first of its kind, this living situation may become an ideal model for communities with a high number of homeless LGBT teens or LGBT adults who find themselves spending much of their golden years alone.