San Diego will be getting a new senior LGBT inclusive housing complex within the next few years. The $27 million project will be located at Texas Street and Howard Avenue in North Park. The San Diego Housing Commission will provide $7 million toward the project.
The news comes after a City Council meeting held on Tuesday, December 8, resulted in unanimous approval of the 76-unit multiplex.
The proposal was initiated by the Community Housingworks (CHW) to bridge the gap between affordable senior housing and the need for the aging LGBT community who are sometimes ostracized from the market.
Although the complex will be open to all elderly individuals, the welcoming atmosphere of LGBT seniors will make it unique among other housing projects in San Diego.
“There is a tremendous need for this community, which is going to serve as a model for future senior communities that will provide welcoming homes and support for LGBT pioneers,” said Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks.
Many in the LGBT community feel marginalized when it comes to living out their later years and in a 2013 Pew Research report, only 19-percent of LGBT people polled felt that they we accepted in society.
The CHW will work alongside the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) to further strengthen the lifeline of support between aging LGBT individuals and their day-to-day lives.
Delores Jacobs, CEO of The Center, says that this new development is a way to honor those in the LGBT community who have made a difference in modern society, but have often been left struggling or forced to live in solitude and shame.
“The people who will live here paved the way for younger LGBT generations,” she said, “and many of them are forced back into the closet in traditional senior communities because of a lack of acceptance. We owe this new community and more to San Diego’s LGBT seniors.”
The Center recently did their own study of housing and the challenges LGBT seniors face every day.
A whopping 68-percent of those surveyed said they could not rely on family members or friends to help them in times of need.
Councilmember Todd Gloria applauds the CWH project and its vision.
"This project is a first step," said Gloria. "Our goal must be that all senior housing options become open and affirming. LGBT seniors should have the same opportunity to find apartment homes in communities with onsite supportive services."
The LGBT-inclusive housing project is scheduled to break ground next year and is projected to be ready for residents in the summer of 2017.
Once completed, San Diego will join San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles as one of the only cities with a unique project of this kind.
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.