West Hollywood is one of the best-known small cities in America. It’s known for a diverse array of reasons — its rock n’ roll history on the Sunset Strip, its Russian population, and, of course, as a gay mecca. Since the city’s incorporation in 1984, West Hollywood (or “WeHo” as it is affectionately called) has led the way when it comes to a safe haven for LGBT people.
Slowly but surely, however, that has started to change. And it has changed for the same reasons that things have changed in other cities, such as San Francisco and New York. There has been a slow increase in the cost of living and the cost of housing, and that has caused the gay community in some of our major cities to dwindle, to essentially disappear — gay people simply can’t afford to live or move here anymore.
West Hollywood is at the beginning of that process. Many point out that the city’s percentage of gay men (43 percent) is around the same as it was 30 years ago, which is true. But as a member of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, as well as a member of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation board, I have a unique insight into these issues.
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