Housing Crisis: Elders on the streets

This is part two of a three-part series on unhoused LGBTQ+ individuals. Read part 1 here.

The news that homelessness had leapt exponentially last year came as no surprise to Drew Chandler. At age 74, Chandler, a former sous chef for a South Philly Italian restaurant, has been “living on God’s good graces and not much else” for the past two years since his partner of 36 years — a retired music teacher he’d met when they were both in a choral group together — died suddenly after a brief illness and their home, on which they had to take a second mortgage, was foreclosed on.

Chandler, who spoke with PGN via phone from a temporary shelter provided by Project HOME, said, “Once Tom died, I just couldn’t afford to maintain the mortgage and still eat and pay for my medications. We weren’t legally married. You see — we meant to do it. We talked about it, but just never prioritized it as it didn’t feel necessary to either of us — and so I didn’t get his Social Security. And while Tom left me what savings he had, I had to pay a big tax bill on that. And it was just a downward spiral for me.” […]

Click here to read the full piece. This story was originally published by Philadelphia Gay News on January 17, 2024.