Affordable Housing Community in Wilton Manors, FL
The new 48-unit development represents Florida’s first affordable housing project with supportive services for LGBTQ+ seniors.
The first residents now have moved into The Residences at Equality Park. South Florida is witnessing the incredible realization of a multi-year process of community assessment and strategic planning coming to fruition. This residential community will provide permanent affordable housing and supportive services for senior adults living with disabling conditions, such as physical illnesses or disabilities due to complications from diseases including HIV/AIDS, with a special focus on members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This means one of South Florida’s most overlooked populations (aging members of the LGBTQ+ community) now will have a new affordable housing option in Broward County. The Pride Center at Equality Park (one of the nation’s largest nonprofit LGBTQ+ community centers) teamed up with Miami-based Carrfour Supportive Housing (Florida’s largest nonprofit affordable housing developer) to develop The Residences at Equality Park. Located in the City of Wilton Manors at 2040 North Dixie Highway on The Pride Center’s Equality Park campus, The Residences represents Florida’s very first affordable housing community with customized support services for LGBTQ+ seniors.
Groundbreaking on this exciting project took place in the summer of 2019, and construction progressed quickly over the following year. As development neared completion, The Pride Center and Carrfour Supportive Housing hosted a virtual lottery drawing in July of 2020 with Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich and Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Tom Green to select applicants from the more than 1,500 applications received from individuals eager to live at The Residences at Equality Park.
“Throughout construction, there wasn’t a week that went by when I didn’t receive multiple phone calls from community members wanting to know how they could become a resident,” said Robert Boo, CEO of The Pride Center. “The Pride Center started this journey eight years ago. The Residences at Equality Park is the culmination of an intense, exciting journey where we’re responding to direct, community-requested, prioritized need. We have the opportunity to help meet this great need of affordable housing for our Active Agers. Our work will decrease isolation, promote aging in place, and increase the overall quality of life for LGBTQ+ older adults in South Florida. We have many reasons to celebrate.”
Eight years ago in 2012, The Pride Center was first approached by The City of Wilton Manors and Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing who had identified a desperate local need in Broward County for affordable housing that could help to meet the burgeoning need faced by a growing, aging LGBTQ+ community. That same year, during The Pride Center’s Strategic Planning process, The Center’s Board of Directors set a goal to evaluate the potential of a senior affordable housing project to be built on the Equality Park campus.
In March of 2015, more than 65 community members, elected officials, business leaders, clients, donors, and stakeholders came together for a charrette to envision what the future of The Pride Center and the Equality Park campus might look like. Eight months later, The Pride Center partnered with Miami-based nonprofit Carrfour Supportive Housing to plan and develop The Residences at Equality Park.
“There’s a growing need for affordable housing in South Florida, particularly among underserved populations such as the senior LGBTQ+ community and those living with disabilities,” said Stephanie Berman, President and CEO of Carrfour Supportive Housing. “Beyond providing a place to call home, Carrfour is partnering with The Pride Center to ensure that residents at The Residences at Equality Park have convenient access to community services, healthcare, financial planning, and social networks that combat isolation.”
Nearly half of LGBTQ+ seniors in the United States live with a disabling condition, according to the Institute for Multigenerational Health. According to both SAGE USA and The Equal Rights Center, older LGBTQ+ adults in particular face a variety of unique challenges in securing housing with higher rates of discrimination, bias, and sometimes even hostile treatment from landlords as well as fellow tenants.
The Residences at Equality Park includes 48 units ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom apartments – 34 of which are set aside as permanent supportive housing for low-income seniors ages 55+ with a disabling condition who need on-site supportive services in order to maintain their housing. 43 units were available to residents earning 60% or less of Broward County’s Area Median Income (AMI) – which would equate to a maximum annual income of about $35,400 per year for a one-person household, and about $40,400 per year for a two-person household. The remaining five units were available to those earning 33% or less of the AMI – which would equate to a maximum annual income of about $17,700 per year for a one-person household, and about $20,200 per year for a two-person household.
Situated on The Pride Center’s five-acre Equality Park campus, the four-story apartment building will offer amenities such as a fitness center, library, computer room, and community room. The Residences, coupled with The Pride Center’s growing seniors programming – one of the largest LGBTQ+ seniors’ programs nationwide – will give residents a permanent, safe place to live and customized, culturally proficient support services they need to age in place.
For the passionate staff, board, and volunteers of The Pride Center at Equality Park, this powerful and inspiring milestone of residents moving in brings new meaning to the mission of providing a welcoming, safe space; an inclusive home that celebrates, nurtures, and empowers the LGBTQ+ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida. More than ever, there is an incredible need for affordable housing in South Florida and The Pride Center is humbled to have witnessed the transformation of its campus as their capacity to positively impact the lives of the community continues to evolve and grow.
About Carrfour Supportive Housing
Carrfour Supportive Housing is a nonprofit organization established in 1993 by the Homeless Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Carrfour develops, operates, and manages innovative housing communities for individuals and families in need through a unique approach combining affordable housing with comprehensive, on-site supportive services. As the leading not-for-profit provider of supportive housing in Florida, Carrfour has supplied homes for more than 10,000 formerly homeless men, women, and children since its founding. Learn more at www.Carrfour.org.
About The Pride Center
The Pride Center at Equality Park celebrated 27 years of service in 2020. Our mission is: “We provide a welcoming, safe space – an inclusive home – that celebrates, nurtures, and empowers the LGBTQ+ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida.” Learn more at www.PrideCenterFlorida.org.