Philly Gay Rights Pioneers Launch Landmark Senior Housing Project
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Project planners, LGBT-civil rights pioneers and public officials will mark the start of construction on Philadelphia’s LGBT-friendly low-income senior housing complex, the first urban project of its kind, located in the heart of the Philadelphia Gayborhood.
The $19.5 million dmhFund and Pennrose Properties venture, set to be completed by the end of 2013, received funding from a mix of city, state and federal resources. The six-story building will feature 56 one-bedroom units, with a 5,000 square-foot enclosed courtyard, along with generous multi-purpose spaces to be shared by residents and the larger community.
The need for services to the senior LGBT community is well documented. In 2005, the Mid-America Institute on Poverty found a significant demand for LGBT retirement communities, with nearly 65 percent of participants reported being interested in living in an affordable rental housing geared toward mature LGBT individuals and couples.
The most reported reason for wanting to live in LGBT-senior rental housing was the prospect of living with people who had similar life experiences and views. Other reasons included acceptance, comfort, safety and an opportunity to meet people.
The plans include nearly 2,000 square feet of rentable ground floor retail space with substantial frontage along 13th Street. The transformation from a Redevelopment Authority property into an attractive, well-lighted residence adds to the ongoing revitalization of the 13th Street corridor. The location also allows residents to be an integral part of the community and take advantage of services offered by LGBT resources in the neighborhood.
The Groundbreak & Naming Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 will feature:
• Unveiling of residence name by Mayor Michael Nutter
• LGBT civil rights pioneers signing glass panel to be turned into a permanent installation in the building memorializing their work in starting the movement that made this project possible
• Ground break with an array of colored shovels representing the rainbow flag
• Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
• Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell
• Congressman Bob Brady
• Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord
• State Senators Michael Stack, Anthony Williams and Larry Farnese
• Randy Wicker, organizer of the first-ever gay rights march and veteran of the Stonewall Riots
• Ada Bello, a pioneer of the first gay and lesbian pickets at Independence Hall, 1965-1969
• Mark Horn, author of the Stonewall Seder, a Jewish LGBT pride liturgy that has been used to celebrate Pride Week and one of the leaders of Gay Youth
• Jeff Fouratt, founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, HEAL, ACT UP and founding board member of the New York Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
• Michael Lavery, gay rights activist for more than 50 years
• Mark Segal, founder of Gay Youth, president dmhFund, veteran of the Stonewall Riots and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News