The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), BFC Partners, SAGE, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) recently celebrated the opening of Stonewall House, New York State’s first LGBT-friendly affordable elder housing, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It is the largest such development in the nation and is a fitting tribute to LGBT pioneers during this year – the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
Although New York’s housing affordability crisis impacts households of all backgrounds and demographics, older LGBT people are statistically more likely to face housing discrimination and harassment. They are also less likely to have children or other family members to help provide for their needs as they age, exacerbating the crisis for the population.
Stonewall House, the first project to be completed under the NextGen NYCHA initiative, is a 17-story building at 112 St. Edwards St. in Fort Greene. It provides 145 units of affordable housing for households who earn 50 percent or less of the area median income and include at least one person who is 62-years-of-age or older. The building has 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom apartments, and 25 percent of these homes will be occupied by formerly homeless households.
SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elder people, will operate the SAGE Center Brooklyn at Stonewall House, a 7,000 square-foot state community center located on the ground floor. The new center will open in early 2020.
“Stonewall House represents this City’s unparalleled investments in affordable housing, and our staunch commitment to ensuring our senior residents are not priced out of their communities. Today we welcome home over 140 seniors who now have a safe and affordable home to call their own,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “I thank my team at HPD, our colleagues across the government, and our long roster of dedicated community partners for their help championing this project.”
“NYCHA is excited to bring affordable housing to New York City seniors,” said NYCHA Senior Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouvea. “Our seniors deserve new, safe, clean affordable housing. This 100 percent affordable development is necessary and a great step forward for New York City.”
“We want all New Yorkers to feel secure and welcome in our city, and this historic development builds on our commitment to support LGBTQ+ communities and their families,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Stonewall House will provide residents with a safe environment and support system where they will be treated with respect and compassion. We are grateful to our partners at SAGE for their continued work in building LGBT senior affordable housing across the city.”
“Housing forms the bedrock of healthy communities, and everyone deserves a place to call home,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze. “With the Stonewall House project, the de Blasio administration and our partners honor the trailblazing legacy of older LGBTQ New Yorkers with an empowering space where elders can live in community and with pride.”
“Today is a true celebration for New York City. We are proud to partner with SAGE and the de Blasio administration and deliver this truly transformative housing that is welcoming and supportive of LGBT elders and their families,” said Donald Capoccia, principal and founder of BFC Partners. “We hope that this project blazes a path forward for stakeholders across the nation to step up to the plate and further help aging members of the LGBTQ community.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that LGBT elders in New York City have been working for 50 years for a place they can truly call home – since they stood up and said “no more” back at Stonewall in 1969,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “Thankfully, they’ve now found that home at Stonewall House, and we at SAGE could not be more thrilled.” Continued Adams, “The Mayor’s ten-year housing plan encouraged developers of senior housing to partner with LGBT nonprofit service providers in order to provide inclusive affordable housing opportunities for LGBT elders, and we are proud that this is the first building to accomplish that mandate.”
“Getting to live here is a dream come true,” said Diedra Nottingham, a Stonewall House resident. “I am so excited to move into this building and be part of a community that is LGBT-friendly. I was born and bred in Brooklyn and coming back to the area is like coming home.”
The building is a part of NYCHA’s 100 percent Affordable Housing program, supporting Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan. It will help NYCHA meet its goal to provide 10,000 new affordable units over the next decade.
Stonewall House received financing from HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, HDC, and Wells Fargo. Nixon Peabody advised BFC Partners on the development.
“Today we celebrate the addition of 145 units of affordable senior housing, along with an onsite senior center that will benefit both the residents and the larger community,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I would like to congratulate our partners on the completion of Stonewall House and extend my gratitude to everyone at SAGE for all they do to support our LGBTQ seniors.”
“Providing seniors with an affordable and safe place to call home is part of our commitment to older New Yorkers to have the opportunity to age with dignity in a City that they love,” said Grace Bonilla, Administrator for the NYC Human Resources Administration. “We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of this innovative and inclusive housing development and look forward to continued collaboration with our private partners and sister agencies to ensure that all New Yorkers can access similar opportunities.”
“It was an honor working with BFC Partners, SAGE and the City of New York. I commend them for their leadership and collective commitment to the LGBTQ community, without which Stonewall House would not have been made possible,” said Nixon Peabody partner Joe Lynch. “Stonewall House is not just a home and a safe haven for LGBTQ elderly in New York but a beacon of hope for all LGBTQ people across the country.