Hitting a speed bump

If you read PGN’s website last week, you might have read the story regarding the William Way Senior Residence project, which hopes to create an LGBT-friendly affordable living facility here in Philadelphia.

It’s a massive project that has many components and many steps to climb before it can become a reality. Last week, we hit our first speed bump along the road.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency awarded its tax credits for this cycle, and our project was not on it. Those credits are critical for this kind of project. Unfortunately for us, this cycle was one of the most competitive in history. Not only were we not awarded, neither was a project from Sister Mary Scullion of Project H.O.M.E., the poster person of affordable housing. So we, like Scullion, will re-submit in the October cycle, some 90 days from now.

In those 90 days, we will meet with PHFA agency staff and find ways to make our proposal stronger. We’ll discuss changes with our partners and reach out to our advisory board.

If you are a fighter for equality or an activist, you know the battle is not over until we win. Nothing comes easy, and our seniors deserve our full efforts — and from us they have it. We continue to march full-steam ahead.

My fellow dmhFund board member stated it best: “This process has put the need for LGBT senior housing on the radar screen of many in Philadelphia for the first time, which also raises awareness of other issues LGBT elders deal with. So this application has had a positive impact in our community.”

And we continue!


Published by Mark Segal in the Philadelphia Gay News on July 21, 2011.