When LGBT, low-income seniors in San Diego seek affordable apartments where they can live comfortably around their peers, they have this number of choices: zero. But that will change when the first affordable San Diego apartments for LGBT seniors are completed in North Park.
There are only a few such housing developments in the country (two are in Los Angeles). The nonprofit housing developer, Community HousingWorks, decided awhile back to work with The LGBT Center of Hillcrest on a future project. CHW previously offered a rough design concept at a November 2013 meeting in North Park.
The organization held an information meeting at Lafayette Hotel on April 26 to give an update. Dave Gatzke, vice president of acquisitions at CHW, spoke about a 2011 survey done for the LGBT center by research consultant Jim Zians, Ph.D.
Gatzke said the study included such LGBT seniors' concerns as “lack of family and community social support, facing social isolation, lack of affordable healthcare and financial concerns.” Overall, there's a lack of “LGBT-affirmative housing today,” Gatzke added.
Anne Wilson, CHW's senior vice president of real estate, said the elimination of redevelopment money makes financing of low-income projects more difficult. They must rely on a limited number of low-income housing tax credits provided by the state of California, Wilson said.
The seniors project is part of two CHW residential developments at the corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue in North Park. It will offer 76 affordable apartments in a courtyard setting with underground parking. The Center's senior-services staff will serve residents' needs, according to Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of the Center.
CHW has begun the process of hearings and community input and hopes to get full city approval by late this year. Construction is planned for sometime in 2015, but it could be later, Wilson stressed to attendees at the meeting. It's all in the funding, she said. Construction costs have not yet been determined.