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May 31, 2013

From a Place of Degradation to a Place of Honor

Today's post comes to us from Britta Larson, Senior Services Director at SAGE Center on Halsted.

Town Hall on Halsted
An artistic rendering of Chicago's new affordable LGBT senior housing development. Image courtesy of Gensler.

In just a few short days Center on Halsted, the largest, most comprehensive LGBTQ community Center in the Midwest, along with Heartland Housing, the Midwest’s leading affordable housing developer, will be breaking ground on the region’s first affordable LGBT-friendly senior housing facility. This is truly a historic moment, a moment which many LGBT older adults never thought they would live to see.

LGBT older adults living in Chicago remember a time in their lives when they had to live in fear, live in hiding and live in secret.  They came of age at a time when they could be arrested for being gay, labeled mentally ill or fired from their job for being who they are.

And now, these same older adults will be witness to the development of a $25 million project that was designed with their unique needs in mind.  The 79-unit housing development will include a mix of studios and 1-bedrooms and will be available to seniors over 55.

The housing development will also include community gathering space for the residents in an adjoining building, formerly a historic Chicago police station. This police station, which at one time represented discrimination and persecution against the LGBT community, will now seamlessly be part of their new home, the significance of which is noted by many. As one senior recently stated, “this building will be turned from a place of degradation to a place of honor.”

LGBT older adults will no longer be in hiding, they will no longer have to live in fear.  A safe, welcoming home for them will now be in the heart of Chicago for all to see. 

Welcome home.


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