New York City’s first affordable LGBT-friendly senior housing complex has opened in Fort Greene. Originally called the Ingersoll Senior Residences, the project—which is the first to be completed under the city’s controversial plan to lease NYCHA land to private developers—was dubbed Stonewall House in honor of the 1969 riots that launched the modern LGBT movement. The building comprises 145 apartments that will be available to seniors 62 years and older who make 50 percent or less of the area median income, with 25 percent of the units set aside for formerly homeless tenants.
The project is the result of a partnership between NYCHA, BFC Partners, SAGE, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Per New York’s Fair Housing mandate, the building’s population will not be limited to a specific sexual orientation. Although New York’s housing affordability crisis impacts households of all backgrounds and demographics, older LGBT people are statistically more likely to face housing discrimination and harassment while being less likely to have children or family members to provide support as they age.
The 17-story building at 112 Edwards Street in Fort Greene was designed by Marvel Architects on unused land on the larger Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses NYCHA property. The building has 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom apartments in addition to laundry facilities, a communal lounge, reading/card room, roof deck, and landscaped terraces. SAGE, an organization focused on LGBT elders, will operate a 7,000 square-foot community center on the ground floor. It’s expected to open in early 2020.
“Getting to live here is a dream come true,” said Diedra Nottingham, a Stonewall House resident. “I am so excited to move into this building and be part of a community that is LGBT-friendly. I was born and bred in Brooklyn and coming back to the area is like coming home.”
Residents are beginning to move in and will do so throughout January. This isn’t the first project of its kind in the nation—NYC is behind similar initiatives in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Minneapolis—but it is the largest.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that LGBT elders in New York City have been working for 50 years for a place they can truly call home—since they stood up and said ‘no more’ back at Stonewall in 1969,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “The Mayor’s ten-year housing plan encouraged developers of senior housing to partner with LGBT nonprofit service providers in order to provide inclusive affordable housing opportunities for LGBT elders, and we are proud that this is the first building to accomplish that mandate.”
A housing lottery for 57 units in a similar project at 775 Crotona Park North in the Bronx—which will combine low-income housing with an LGBT-oriented Senior Center on the ground floor—is currently open for applications through January 2.