Hugh Loomis

A public–private partnership between Pennrose and The Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund established the John C. Anderson Apartments, the first LGBT-friendly senior housing community built in Philadelphia and only the third of its kind in the nation.

The downtown neighborhood is one of the city’s most welcoming to the LGBT community. However, rising popularity has led to heightened housing costs, making it difficult to find affordable housing—a particular problem for low-income LGBT seniors, who historically face higher poverty rates and discrimination in senior housing.

John C. Anderson provides a welcoming environment and affordable rents for those seniors making 20 percent, 50 percent, and 60 percent of the area median income.

The tight, 0.4-acre lot forced the developers to maximize space by giving the building’s rear only four stories, allowing for a community roof deck and the project’s more natural incorporation into the neighborhood. The building was also designed to Energy Star standards, including features such as a partial green roof, a solar thermal hot-water system, and low-VOC products.

The property also contains 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space to be developed into a neighborhood café.

Received warmly by the local community, including the establishment of various partnerships to provide on-site supportive services, the project has also garnered recognition from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the White House.