As the Stonewall generation continues to age, questions about their future follow pace: Many older LGBT people lack support systems or children to care for them, and those who can afford care worry about having to go back in the closet in a nursing home. In a test conducted by SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), 48% of older LGBT people were subjected to discrimination when applying for senior housing.
Increasingly, the answer has been to create housing catering specifically to older LGBT residents, as has been done in L.A., Philadelphia and Chicago. Late last week, plans were unveiled for the first in New York.
Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn and Crotona Senior Residences in the Bronx are the result of a partnership between SAGE, the New York Housing Authority, the housing advocacy group HELP USA, and developers BFC Partners.
With 145 units, Ingersoll in Ft. Greene will be the largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing development in the country, while Crotona will offer an addition 82 units. Both will provide affordable housing, hot meals, social activities and support services.
When construction is completed in 2019, apartments will be open to any seniors meeting income requirements, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, based on a lottery system. (A portion of both buildings will be set aside for homeless seniors, as well.)
“For too long, our LGBT elder pioneers in New York City have lacked access to housing where they are welcomed for who they are,” said SAGE director Michael Adams. “Ingersoll and Crotona are a critically important step toward righting that wrong… providing not only affordable and welcoming housing but also on-site services pioneered through SAGE’s network of LGBT senior centers.”
The Ingersoll Houses are expected to cost $78 million, with Crotona adding another $40 million to the bill. They’re part of Mayor Bill de Blasio bold plan to create and preserve some 200,000 units of affordable housing for the elderly. According to SAGE, more than 100,000 of New York’s 1.1 million seniors are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
“Many older LGBT adults remember the discrimination they faced in housing and other sectors, and they were silenced for far too long,” Department for the Aging commissioner Donna Corrado told The New York Times.
“The construction of housing for them creates a safe space and support system that allows LGBT seniors with limited incomes to live with dignity.”