Affordable LGBT Senior Housing Under Development in Chicago

Chicago, Ill.-based developer Heartland Housing is planning the construction of an 80-unit apartment building slated as affordable housing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The project will be located next to the Center on Halsted, a resource center for the LGBT community. Gensler, the project architect, also designed the Center on Halsted, which opened its new facility last year and will provide programing for the apartment building.

Financing for the building should be in place this fall, says the Tribune, with construction expected to begin in 2012.

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There’s a need for LGBT-specific senior housing, as many from the now-retiring population “struggled with being out,” the Chicago Tribune quotes Modesto Valle, head of the Center on Halsted, as saying. “When they move into a retirement home or assisted living facility, they can face discrimination all over again,” Valle said.

A handful of similar projects exist throughout the United States, including ones in Los Angeles, Calif. and Santa Fe, N.M., with others being planned in Philadelphia, Pa. and San Francisco, Calif.

The new building will also accept heterosexual seniors, as housing laws prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. It will however be age restricted, and residents must be 62 or older. Residents must also meet low-income requirements in order to qualify for an apartment, although rents have not yet been determined.

Heartland Housing is hoping to find rental subsidies so some residents will pay no more than 30% of their income for rent, the Tribune reports.

The apartment building is meant for independent seniors, and will not offer meals. It will have one-bedroom and studio apartments, and the first floor will also have some commercial space suited for medical offices.

Read the Chicago Tribune article here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace