NYC Housing Ventures to Set Out a Welcome Mat for LGBT Seniors
Apartment buildings in Brooklyn and the Bronx to offer affordable housing and programming for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors
The Wall Street Journal | June 29, 2016
By Hannah Furfaro
A new initiative to build affordable housing that is friendly for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors is beginning to take shape.
Senior-housing basics, like hot meals, fitness and language classes will be available at the Ingersoll Senior Residences in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, and the Crotona Senior Residences in Crotona Park North in the Bronx.
But also to be offered is LGBT-specific programming, like Pride Month celebrations and book or art clubs that highlight LGBT writers and artists.
The national LGBT advocacy organization called Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, or SAGE, will help staff and operate the centers. SAGE plans to announce details about the residential programs on Thursday.
The two New York projects will join similar LGBT-focused complexes in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, said Michael Adams, chief executive officer of SAGE.
Many LGBT seniors “do not have family and are single and rely on the kind of infrastructure that you can provide in a building like this,” said Donald Capoccia, managing principal at BFC Partners, the developer on the Ingersoll project.
Tom Hameline, president and chief executive of HELP USA, which is developing the Crotona Senior Residences, said the company had been a partner on several other developments for families and high-needs individuals, including people living with HIV/AIDS.
Both of the New York apartment buildings will be open to LGBT and non-LGBT seniors, Mr. Adams said, and the SAGE services will be offered free to other seniors who live nearby.
The residences will help serve a community that has historically faced discrimination, he said. “What we repeatedly hear from SAGE constituents is they are afraid to apply for any kind of senior services.”
The buildings will house lower-income eligible seniors age 62 and older. The 145-unit Ingersoll complex, whose construction is expected to cost about $47 million, will be built on an unused grassy area near the north side of Fort Greene Park.
The 82-unit Crotona residence is anticipated to cost about $38.4 million.
Both buildings are expected to be completed within three years.
The projects are funded through different combinations of state and city dollars from agencies like the New York City Housing Authority and New York State Homes and Community Renewal, among others.