The first assisted living community in Florida for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults opened last month and welcomed its first resident. The Connie House ALF in Boynton Beach, FL, can accommodate six residents in semi-private rooms, along with a rotating group of staff who provide 24/7 care.
According to TCH Board President and CEO Allan Hendricks, it is only the second assisted living community in the country geared specifically toward LGBT seniors. The other is in Palm Springs, CA.
“Our goal is to provide a safe, caring and fun atmosphere that fosters a family of residents,” TCH Allan Hendricks said in a statement.
The Connie House is named for activist Connie Kurtz, who together with her partner, Ruth Berman, were the first same-sex couple to sue an employer for equal benefits. Kurtz died in 2018, but “her spirit is very much alive” at THC, Hendricks told McKnight’s Business Daily. Kurtz died in 2018, he said, but “Ruth is still very much a part of this effort, and Connie is in spirit.”
Kurtz’s artwork adorns the walls of the assisted living community. Hendricks has been a gay activist for approximately 15 years, he said.
“We were all talking about how we’re going to care for our elder community, and nobody was actually doing anything much except for talking,” Hendricks said. “[The social aspect, housing and care] need to be connected, and [LGBTQ+ adults] don’t need the extra stress or pressure of having to face discrimination in the place they’re living.”
TCH is a subsidiary of Pride Tribe, an S corporation dedicated to providing care, housing and services to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Tribe, doing business as the Connie House ALF, is licensed by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the Palm Beach County Safety Management, the Palm Beach County Health Department and the city of Boynton Beach. The organization also has earned a platinum credential from SAGECare, a training program that ensures providers are welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.
Hendricks said he is open to possibly opening additional assisted living communities under the umbrella of Pride Tribe.