After a year of construction, The Residences at Equality Park is now accepting applications for residents to move into the LGBT-friendly senior affordable housing facility in Wilton Manors.

The community is accepting applications through June 26 and applicants will be chosen by a lottery system. The 48-unit property on the same campus as the Pride Center is aimed at LGBT seniors 55 and older earning less than 60% of the area’s median income (roughly $35,000 annually). 

Units include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Both couples and single residents are welcome. 

“LGBTQ older adults face higher rates of discrimination in securing senior housing and encounter bias and hostile treatment from housing providers and fellow residents,” Robert Boo, CEO at the Pride Center, said in an email. “Experiences of discrimination are linked with poor health outcomes, such as depression among chronically ill LGBTQ older adults and their informal caregivers.”  

With support networks shrinking over a lifetime, a safe and affordable place to call home is more important than ever. And with 40% of LGBT seniors living with some sort of disability, about 70% of the units at The Residences will be designated for seniors with disabilities, including complications from HIV/AIDS.

The process to make The Residences at Equality Park a reality was a seven-year journey, Boo said. An initial application to Florida Housing was denied in 2015, but the unwavering Pride Center tried again and the application was accepted. The project is a partnership with Carrfour Supportive Housing, the state’s largest nonprofit developer, and Enterprise Community Partners, also a nonprofit organization. 

“We get excited about serving populations that often get ignored or lost,” said Stephanie Berman-Eisenburg, the president of Carrfour Supportive Housing. 

Past projects for Carrfour including affordable housing for homeless families and people with disabilities. The agency has found success in not only building residences, but having on-site supportive services available to help residents thrive. At The Residences, there will be senior support groups, wellness workshops, recreational activities, speakers, cultural events, and exercise classes.

Cities across the country are recognizing the need for affordable housing for LGBT seniors, with similar communities built in Los Angeles, Long Island, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia. According to the Silver Tsunami Report in 2017, by the year 2030 there will be more adults 65 and older than children. Florida already has the highest population of seniors, with 22.5% of Broward County’s population aging 65 or older.

Those interested in applying to live at The Residences at Equality park are welcome to apply at carrfour.org through June 26. Those chosen by the lottery system will be able to move in during the late summer or early fall.

“Carrfour’s philosophy is that we wouldn’t build anything that we wouldn’t want to live in ourselves or we wouldn’t want our family members to live in,” Berman said of the property.