2 min

Calgarians take first steps toward a community housing project for queers over 40

Organizer believes project could break ground within three to five years

FIRST STEPS. GLBT Housing organizers Sam Sebree, Connie Loveday, and Marnie Campbell. The group launches its online survey on Oct 15 at Credit: Kevin Allen photo

A new Calgary organization called GLBT Housing is launching an online survey Oct 15 to assess interest in building a queer community housing project, and they want your input. If you were ever wondering what living in your very own gay village would be like, you could be part of the design team.

Ringleader Connie Loveday has been mulling over the idea of a housing project for a decade.

“I have had so many conversations with friends talking about how there is no specific housing option for GLBT seniors in the community,” explains Loveday. “Now that we are getting older, my friends and I are wondering about ourselves and who is going to take care of us as we age.”

The 20-minute survey will field a variety of questions on what the ideal community housing project would look like. Not intending to be prescriptive, the survey organizers have no fixed idea of what the final project would look like.

“The survey results will determine how we proceed,” says Loveday. “There are many factors people need to consider such as: what age would they consider living in the community, price, location, size of unit needed, access to transit, organized activities, amenities wanted and the amount of financial commitment they would be willing to make.”

A special aspect of the project is the creation of a community centre attached to the development. If classified a “residential association” by the City of Calgary, there would be funding opportunities for community programming, which could be range of organized activities, community gardens and perhaps a communal dining area. In addition, a community centre could host events and provide services to the larger community such as educating home care workers about the specific health care needs of the queer community.

Loveday takes inspiration from Rainbow Vision in Santa Fe, a 13-acre retirement community complete with restaurants and spas, and Plum Living in Vancouver which currently provides home health care services to gay, lesbian, bi and trans seniors. She believes that a Calgary housing project could break ground in three to five years.

Loveday also believes she has piqued community interest and has already attracted high profile community sponsors for GLBT Housing: lawyer Sam Sebree and real estate agent Marnie Campbell.

“Our big push now is to get the survey out there to everyone in the community, and we hope people will fill it out,” Loveday says, adding, “there is a $400 visa gift card to win as added incentive for people to log onto the survey.”

GLBT Housing.