Affordable housing to be made for LGBT seniors

- The fight for equal rights in the LGBT community has no age limit.

An organization known as SAGE is working to create affordable housing specifically for seniors who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

The goal is to allow them to live out their golden years without fear of discrimination.     

"I’m like everyone else. I want to live good, and I want to be treated well,” said Joyce Banks, an LGBT Senior.

That’s all these seniors want. They want a place where they feel safe and accepted.

Geo Genao is gay. He's been living in an apartment building in the Kingsbridge Heights section of the Bronx for about 14 years, and he said he feels discriminated against, claiming he has no friends in the building and no one talks to him all because he is gay.

"If we have some place where you can be accepted the way you are, its important as a human being," he said.

That place is coming. Sage, a nonprofit advocacy and service organization for LGBT elders is working with private developers, Help USA in the Bronx, and Brooklyn’s BFC Partners, as well as NYCHA and HPD to build affordable LGBT-friendly housing for LGBT seniors.

“About 48 percent of LGBT same sex couples who applied for affordable housing have been discriminated against. There's discrimination from a social cultural perspective as it relates to housing," said Diosdad Gica, chief program officer for Sage.

Two buildings will be constructed in our area.  An 84-unit apartment building in the Cortona park section of the Bronx and 145 units at the Ingersoll houses, a public-housing project in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  Help USA is helping built the one in the Bronx.

“These housings are imperative to meet this need,” said Laura Michener, Senior project manager at Help USA.

According to Sage, there's close to 600,000 LGBT people living in New York City, about 100,000 are considered LGBT seniors, that way it says it’s important to build LGBT-friendly housing, housing that will meet the community’s needs. The first floor of the building will be home to a Sage senior center.

They will start to break ground in the Bronx in October. The building is expected to be completed in May of 2019, that the same year the Brooklyn building is expected to be ready for seniors to move in.

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