By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new apartment building in Philadelphia is paving the way for the future. There was a big turnout for the grand opening on Tuesday.

The brand new 36,000-square-foot residence is first of its kind, named after a prominent LGBTQ advocate in Philadelphia.

It’s made possible by city, state, and HUD officials, along with Project Home – whose well-known motto is: “None of us are home until all of us are home.”

It’s a grand opening celebrating worthy of grand honors. The first Project Home LGBTQ-friendly permanent housing residence for young adults opened in the state of Pennsylvania.

“Because of the growing number of homeless youth, this residence was begun and it’s named after one of the most prominent LGBTQ activists in the city of Philadelphia, Gloria Casarez,” Sister Mary Scullion said.

The Gloria Casarez residence, located at 1315 N. 8th St., will house 30 one-bedroom apartments for young adults aged 18-23, many of whom have aged out of the foster care system or have found themselves homeless.

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“By having a safe, affordable place to call home, these young adults can begin to appreciate and celebrate who they are,” Scullion said.

James Allen fought back tears recounting his experience growing up and identifying as LGBTQ. He’s now embracing his new home.

“My apartment is really beautiful, I have a great view. It’s so brand new, it’s so fresh,” Allen said.

James is finding a renewed sense of hope, acceptance, and inclusivity and hopes others will here as well.

“I have been through a very long journey of just trying to find a place where I belong and where I can be myself and to be here, it’s really emotional to me,” Allen explained. “The place does exist for other people who haven’t found it — it does exist.”

The project does hope to evolve and expand, eventually adding 40 more units.

Residents receive employment and education services provided through Project Home.

There are also plenty of activities like art classes and shows that will take place in the community room for residents.