PA Legislature Passes $7 Million for LGBT-Friendly Affordable Senior Housing Facility in Philly

Published by Randy LoBasso in the Philadelphia Weekly blog on October 5, 2010. 

The Capital Budget Itemization Act of 2010/2011 (HB 2291) passed the PA State Senate and was ratified by the House yesterday. It included $7 million for a partnership between the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, Pennrose Properties and the William Way LGBT Community Center to create the William Way Senior Residences.

The William Way Senior Residences will be new construction of 70 affordable housing units for low-income seniors as well as the renovation of the existing WWCC. The project would allow the existing structure of the WWCC to be fully rehabilitated to allow the space to continue serving the LGBT community with services and programs.

The following stats are from the William Way Senior Residences Facebook page:

• A recent Williams Institute (UCLA, March 2009) study found significantly higher rates of poverty for gay men and lesbians over age 65.

• The MidAmerica Institute on Poverty found a significant demand for LGBT retirement communities in 2005: “Nearly two-thirds (65%) of participants reported being interested in living in an affordable rental housing that was geared towards 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.”

• DHHS Secretary Sebelius recently noted that LGBT older adults face widespread housing discrimination.

“Never before has our government allocated such a large sum of money for a brick and mortar LGBT friendly project,” says Mark Segal, President of the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund. “We still have a long way to go to make this project a reality, but yesterday we took a big step.”