A large crowd gathered at the northwest corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue on July 13 for a groundbreaking ceremony marking construction of affordable apartments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors.
The housing project, by law, is open to all seniors regardless of sexual orientation, but it’s meant to house LGBT seniors who don’t always feel comfortable at the usual affordable senior apartments in San Diego County. The $28 million North Park Senior Apartments is a collaborative project by the nonprofit Community HousingWorks and the San Diego LGBT Community Center (aka The Center) in Hillcrest.
Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of The Center, spoke to the crowd assembled under a temporary tent. “It is absolutely our privilege and pleasure to partner on this project and watch it begin to come to fruition,” she said. “I realize we’re standing in a parking lot, but we know, 18 months to two years from now, what hope is going to look like.”
District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria said, “North Park time and again steps up and shows the best of our community as San Diegans. Lots of folks have money involved in this; a lot of our great banks.... I’d like to thank the San Diego Housing Commission led by my good friend Rick Gentry, who stepped up in a very meaningful way.”
Robert Bettinger, a gay senior, age 87, said, “It’s exciting The Center will take care of the social services and other related services that are so necessary, where you’re living in a building where people need to understand what your real needs are.”
Also speaking briefly were Assembly speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins and Sue Reynolds, CEO of Community HousingWorks. Following the speeches, civic leaders and Community HousingWorks people performed the traditional shovel-dirt routine. Bettinger later tossed a shovelful of dirt by himself.
The project will provide 76 apartment homes in studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom configurations. The rents (subject to change) are studio, $710 to $860; one-bedroom, $760 to $915; and two-bedroom ($905 to $1100). An interest list will open in May 2017. Completion date is tentatively December 2017, according to Community HousingWorks.