The City of Brotherly Love will be home to a new affordable housing project for LGBT seniors, a labor of love of Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal. “In their golden years, LGBT seniors need a safe and loving place to grow old,” Segal told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is going to change the lives of so many people.”
For three years, Segal’s been working with nonprofits, politicians and activists to make his dream a reality. The residency—a $19 million six-story, 56-unit building on South 13th and Locust Streets—cleared a major hurdle recently when it won a bid for an $11 million state tax credit. The building will include 2,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, plus a community center, social-services offices and a garden.
Segal cited several cases explaining why a gay-centric facility is essential for elderly gays and lesbians: One man reached out to Segal after residents at his nursing home started forming prayer circle around him to lift his homosexuality. Others speak of the loneliness of being the only gay in the retirement village.
“And then, there are people who have lived closeted their whole lives,” Segal said. “For them to be able to move into the gayborhood where they can be surrounded by their community for the first time, do you know what kind of freedom that will give them? The impact that will have?”
Wow, shops, a garden and amenities—all in the heart of Philly’s gayborhood? When can we move in?