By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In North Philadelphia, they’re ripping up a parking lot to put up what could be paradise for a particular group of homeless young adults.

There was a groundbreaking Wednesday for an apartment building along 8th and Thompson Streets.

“Now that I have housing, I work, I go to school,” said  Jessie Keel, who’s come this far in just a month after entering supportive housing. “Getting back on track has helped me redefine hope.”

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It’s the kind of success a stable roof over the head can spur. The 30 apartments at this site will be, for Pennsylvania, the first LGBTQ-friendly, permanent housing for young adults.

untitled24 Construction Begins On Phillys First LGBT Friendly Housing For Homeless

(Artist rendering. credit: ProjectHOME)

“Forty percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ,” said ProjectHOME executive director Sister Mary Scullion. “Nationally, young adult homelessness is on the rise. Homelessness is often invisible. It’s not just adults; it’s families, it’s seniors, it’s children, it’s young adults leaving foster care.”

“It’s an important step in making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

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Kenney says it’s a fitting tribute to the late namesake of the residence: Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia’s first director of the office of LGBT affairs.

“This is a sacred, wonderful place that will be secure and safe for everyone,” the mayor said, “regardless of who they are or who they choose to love.”

The 36,547 sq. ft. building at 1315 N. 8th Street, set to open in a year, is funded by city and state agencies along with private partners.

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