By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An apartment building in center city Philadelphia will be the nation’s second housing community geared specifically toward the needs of LGBT senior citizens.
Residents are expected to begin moving into the $19-million building at 13th and Spruce Streets in just a couple of weeks.
One future resident, 65-year-old Elizabeth Coffey Williams, spent her younger days on the front lines of the battle for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender rights. A transgendered woman herself, she lived comfortably while working as an actor, helping at nonprofits, and raising a son.
But the breakup of a 38-year relationship left her reeling.
“For the last year,” she says, “I have been effectively sheltered but homeless.”
On January 11th she will be moving into the John C. Anderson Apartments, which will house LGBT seniors earning between $8,000 and $33,000 a year.
Williams says it means safety, and a community with common ground (see related story).
Mark Segal, who runs the DMH Fund, which is behind the project, says that 13 percent of the senior LGBT community worries about being homeless.
“The whole concept is to give them a place where they can live with dignity and with the services they need,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
Segal says the six-story building is certified for move-in and there are only six units left, with a waiting list for lower-income units.
“We are finishing up leases, which are already 90 percent full,” he said today.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting is scheduled for the end of January.