Allan Hendricks, a native of South Florida, is an award-winning landscape architect and Vice President, Landscape Architecture at Caulfield & Wheeler Inc. He joined the firm in 2002 upon graduation from the University of Florida.
In 2005 Hendricks joined Equality Florida organizing programs and events for the agency in Palm Beach County. He became the organization’s MeetUp facilitator for Palm Beach and organized dozens of actions in support of equality for all.
“Somehow I got on a mailing list for the Family Research Council,” he said indignantly. “I couldn’t believe the garbage I was reading and they were saying these things about me!”
He felt the need to act on behalf of LGBT youth and adults and he did. And now he’s doing it again, this time to create an organization that will bring housing and services, tailored to the LGBT senior population, in Palm Beach County.
“No one was doing anything for LGBTQ+ seniors,” said Hendricks. “The Area Agency on Aging had begun a project to research the needs and recommend programs that could be implemented. Unfortunately, the agency staff member in charge of the project died unexpectedly and the project ceased to exist.”
“There’s a tremendous need for safe housing for aging LGBTQ+ people,” said Carole Benowitz, Florida State Coordinator for PFLAG. “So many seniors retreat to the closet when they’re confronted with hostile service providers.”
Hendricks launched the Pride Tribe as a Facebook Group in February 2019. As of this writing there are more than 330 members including such well-known community leaders as Julie Seaver, Executive Director at Compass; Rand Hoch, President of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council; and Andy Amoroso, Vice Mayor of the City of Lake Worth Beach.
Hendricks sums up the program on the Facebook group page: “Planning and developing housing and services in Palm Beach County. We are open and welcoming to all. Our efforts will be focused on creating safe, affordable housing and services focused on our LGBT Elders here in Palm Beach County, but we believe a healthy environment requires everyone to show up and be a part of the village. We will not be segregating our elders off into a corner somewhere. Instead, we will create safe, fun and healthy spaces where all are welcome.”
Meetings are held monthly to discuss progress and share information. Hendricks posts the notes from the meeting online.
“Meetings are usually small but productive and the notes keep people up to date with what’s going on,” said Hendricks, who sold his home in Boynton Beach and used the proceeds to raise capital to buy a larger home for himself and his first four clients.
“I think Allan can be very successful in this undertaking,” said Annette Gray, President and Founder of GBDC Entrepreneurship Institute, a nonprofit organization, specializing in services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and the public sectors. She is also a friend and colleague of Hendricks’ and has had experience with senior housing regulations and operations in the past.
“There’s a lot to do,” said Hendricks enumerating various agencies and some of their requirements, not to mention the gallons of paint and other cosmetic projects. “But this will be a good start on a model for other counties to follow. And it’s a lot of fun.”