A first of it’s kind LGBTQ+ retirement community will open in London later this year. Tonic Housing announced the purchase of 19 one and two-bedroom flats available to qualified seniors on a shared ownership basis in the Bankhouse retirement development in the Vauxhall section of central London. The purchase of the flats was made possible by a £5.7 million loan from Mayor Sadiq Khan and the city of London.
“We are making history today, realizing a long-held dream to provide a safe place for older LGBT+ people to live well, in a community where they can be themselves and enjoy their later life,” Anna Kear, chief executive officer of Tonic Housing, said in a statement.
“Older Londoners deserve to be able to enjoy their later years in comfort and security, surrounded by a thriving, supportive community,” Mayor Khan said in a statement, adding that he looks forward to establishing “further LGBTQ+ affirming developments in the years to come.”
The new LGBTQ+ retirement community will center the unique lives, histories, and needs of queer seniors. Tonic Housing’s center at Bankhouse will employ a full-time, on-site community and customer engagement manager specifically dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ+ residents and who will be responsible for scheduling events and activities.
The property sits on the banks of the Thames River. The entire retirement community consists of 59 units for rent and 25 units for shared ownership by One Housing. The center features an on-site restaurant and bar, laundry and spa facilities, a floating garden, roof terrace, and 24-hour security. Tonic Housing has purchased 19 of the currently empty shared ownership units from One Housing and is making them available to the LGBTQ+ community.
The community won't begin immediately though: Tonic is not currently authorized to rent affordable apartments, although they are in the process to receive approval to do so. Tonic can also provide optional care packages for seniors requiring help with daily and medical needs.
“We have a long history of investing in homes and communities and providing assisted living to older people,” Richard Hill, chief executive at One Housing, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming new LGBT+ customers to Bankhouse where they’ll be able to enjoy all the advantages of independent living with on-site care and support when they need it.”