New York State’s first LGBT-friendly affordable elder housing featuring 145 units has opened in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Dubbed Stonewall House to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan that spurred the beginning of the national movement for LGBT rights, the community is the largest project of its kind in the U.S. and dates back to 2016 when planning began for the project then known as Ingersoll Senior Residences.
The 17-story building at 112 St. Edwards St. will provide affordable housing for households who earn 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) and include at least one person who is 62 years of age or older. The building has 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom apartments, with 25 percent of the units set aside for people who were previously homeless. While New York’s housing affordability crisis affects households of all backgrounds and demographics, older LGBT people often face housing discrimination and harassment. They are also less likely to have children or family members who can help them as they age.
The opening of Stonewall House was celebrated Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), BFC Partners, SAGE, New York City Housing Development Corp. (HDC) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which are all partners in the development. The building is part of NYCHA’s 100 percent Affordable Housing program, supporting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan. The first project to be completed under NextGen NYCHA, it will help NYCHA meet its goal of providing 10,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade.
Stonewall House received financing from HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, HDC, and Wells Fargo. Nixon Peabody, a global law firm, advised BFC Partners on the development.
Planning More Housing
SAGE, a national organization that is dedicated to advocating for and providing supportive services and resources to older LGBT people, and BFC Partners, a longtime developer of affordable and market-rate housing and mixed-use projects in New York City, were selected by NYCHA and HPD in spring 2016 to develop the Fort Greene affordable apartment building. SAGE will be operating the SAFE Center Brooklyn at Stonewall House, a 7,000-square-foot community center on the building’s ground floor starting in early 2020.
SAGE is teaming up with HELP USA on a similar LGBT-friendly, low-income senior housing building in the Crotona Park section of the Bronx. The 84-unit project broke ground in May 2018 and recently began accepting applications for the apartment building at 775 Crotona Park North. Located across from Crotona Park, the Bronx building will also offer an on-site SAGE center. It will feature a rooftop terrace, community garden, energy-efficient construction and renewable energy supplied by Bright Power through the design and installation of a 90 kW solar PV system.