The project is a part of NYCHA’s efforts to build 10,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. On December 17, 2019, the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) announced the opening of Stonewall House, a new LGBT-friendly affordable elder housing at 112 St. Edwards Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The project is the first elder housing in both the City and State to be designed as “LGBT-friendly.”
Stonewall House is a 17-story building with 145 units of affordable senior housing for households at 50 percent AMI or less and include at least one person 62 years old or older. There are 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom units. Twenty-five percent of the units will be for formerly homeless households.
The building will also feature the SAGE Center Brooklyn at Stonewall House, a new 7,000 square foot state community center on the ground floor of the building. The new center will be operated by SAGE, the world’s oldest organization dedicated to improve the lives of LGBT seniors. The new center will be open in early 2020.
The project was developed by HPD, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the New York City Housing Development Corporation, SAGE, and BFC Partners. Nixon Peabody advised BFC Partners on the development of the project.
The project is part of NextGeneration NYCHA’s 100 Percent Affordable Housing Program, which is NYCHA’s efforts to provide 10,000 new affordable housing units over the next ten years.
Stonewall House received financing from the Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, the Housing Development Corporation, and Wells Fargo.
Stonewall House’s focus on LGBT seniors highlights a demographic that suffers to find affordable housing. Statistically, older LGBT people are more likely to experience housing discrimination and harassment, and are less likely to have children who can help provide for their needs as they age, which makes this demographic feel greater pressure from the City’s housing affordability crisis. With collaborations between LGBT service providers and developers, projects like Stonewall House aim to fill that need. Opening Stonewall House is also a fitting way to close out the year, as 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll stated, “Stonewall House represents this City’s unparalleled investments in affordable housing, and our staunch commitment to ensuring our senior residents are not priced out of their communities. Today we welcome home over 140 seniors who now have a safe and affordable home to call their own.”
Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, stated, “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. Thankfully, they’ve now found that home at Stonewall House, and we at SAGE could not be more thrilled. 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.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)