Thursday, October 29

New Housing Moves Forward for LGBTQ+ Seniors in Cincinnati

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by Briana Oldham

Plans for an LGBTQ housing community for seniors were announced earlier this year. Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST) is partnering with Pennrose, a national developer based in Philadelphia, PA to complete the project.

The apartment complex, Apple Street Senior, will contain 57 affordable units and support services for LGBTQ+ seniors. On July 1, NEST recorded a presentation (video below) with a first look at Apple St. Senior design and project updates.

When news of the proposed housing project was released back in February, COVID-19 had yet to put the world in full quarantine mode. As we continue to adjust to the new normal, Sarah Thomas, executive director at NEST, brought The Buckeye Flame up to speed on all things Apple Street Senior.

Where are things currently with the construction of the units and the move in of the residents?
We are really far from construction of the units and residents being able to move in. We just found out at the end of May that we received the tax credits needed to make housing affordable. Our timeline puts us about two years away from the launch. In the coming months, we will have to wrap up our design and have financing by the end of the year.

Sarah Thomas, executive director at NEST

Who had the idea to bring affordable LGBTQ+ housing to Cincinnati?
This idea, though piloted in New York City and Philadelphia, is still very new in the development world.  NEST helped secure the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which provided federal funding from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for what was originally going to be a grocery store. When Apple Street Market fell through, they assessed and found a need for it to become Apple Street Senior instead.

Do you have to be part of the LGBTQ+ community to live in the apartments?
No you don’t but people should know there are going to be LGBTQ persons living here and should be accepting of that. You also don’t have to be a resident of Cincinnati to apply to live in Apple Street Senior. This opportunity will be understandably more sought after because of all the services and perks that come with living there. The only requirement we ask that you meet is being on a set income.

Are there other programs that you want to implement for LGBTQ+ seniors?
We have permanent partners with whom we work that specialize in selected services. The programs that we offer as a result of these partnerships range from help for the HIV positive population, quality of life improvement through legal, and social services to setting up grocery store visits and participating in community events.

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Briana Oldham is a recent Cleveland State University graduate and a native of the east side of Cleveland. She hopes to tell stories that reach, resonate with and accurately represent people from her neighborhood. She is a collaborator on The Witness Project and digital editor and contributor at Code M Magazine.

 

 

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