The John C. Anderson Apartments, one of the first affordable housing developments built with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors in mind, has opened its doors in Philadelphia.
The $19.5 million development is developed by Pennrose Properties, a leading affordable housing and mixed-use builder, in partnership with the dmhFund, a nonprofit that serves the city’s LGBT community. They held a grand opening for the 56-unit property Monday.
“We were happy to partner with Pennrose because they have a great reputation, and their affordable housing properties are among the best available,” said Mark Segal, president of the dmhFund, in a statement. “In developing John C. Anderson Apartments, we were impressed by the number of local, state, and federal officials who supported it. It’s heartening to know they recognize the need to help our aging community members live out their golden years in comfort and dignity.”
The building is named after a former member of Philadelphia’s City Council. Anderson, who served from 1979 to 1984, was instrumental in achieving passage of the city’s civil rights bill that included gay rights.
“At Pennrose, we’re proud of our record of diversity in the consumers we serve,” said Richard Barnhart, Pennrose chairman and CEO. “We especially liked the opportunity of being involved with a development that would be dedicated to someone who contributed to the rich history of our hometown of Philadelphia.”
During construction, excitement for the apartments reached such a height that when pre-applications were being accepted last September, prospective residents formed a long line and camped overnight in front of the leasing office.
The development isn't restricted to gay seniors, but it is being called an "LGBT-friendly community." Supporters say such projects are needed to meet the needs of an aging population and to help LGBT seniors who often have fewer family ties.
Financing for the development includes low-income housing tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, HOME funds, and the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.