It’s never easy growing old but LGBT seniors are more likely to need assistance because they usually do not have children and some are estranged from their families. With that in mind; the first housing development in the Bronx for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors is being built. Amy Yensi has the story.
A groundbreaking for a groundbreaking project: subsidized housing being built in the Bronx for low-income LGBT seniors.
“Everyone deserves to grow old with dignity and respect,” said Marie Spivey, a local senior.
Spivey, who proudly calls herself a 64-year-old lesbian, hopes to get one the 84 rental apartments at the Crotona Senior Residences. The $41 million project is funded in part by the city and state.
SAGE, an LGBT advocacy group, estimates that out of 1.1 million elderly New Yorkers, more than 100,000 are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The building will welcome seniors who sometimes feel ostracized, alone and discriminated against because of their sexuality.
“It helps with housing for seniors, for those who are homeless and those who are aging in the LGBTQ community who quite often find themselves without housing and without a support system,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Help USA, a nonprofit organization that provides supportive housing for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, will operate the building. It will feature a rooftop terrace and a community center that will be open to the public.
The building will have programs and services for members of the LGBT community, but other seniors who meet income guidelines will not be excluded.
“It just provides them hope that they can be part of a safe haven here,” said Jose Collazo, the site manager for SAGE Bronx.
This will be the second subsidized housing complex for LGBT seniors in the city, after the construction of the Ingersoll Senior Residences in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Applications for the apartments in the Bronx building will be accepted beginning early next year.
“We just want something for ourselves, a little flower in the garden. That’s what we want,” said Spivey.
Now that construction is under way, seniors will be able to move in by the fall of 2019.