Philadelphia is set to become the first US city to offer publically-funded, gay-friendly housing to its citizens after it revealed plans to break ground on the first development of its kind this fall.
According to AOL News, who first broke the story, the new development comes in response to increased demand for affordable homes among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the community, where they can live freely from any kind of discrimination.
Technically of course, it is illegal to base eligibility for affordable housing on an individual’s sexual orientation, but city authorities plan to attract members of the LGBT community through a careful choice of location and special marketing campaign.
Philadelphia isn’t the first city to offer affordable homes to the LGBT community – a similar housing complex already exists in Los Angeles, while San Francisco and Chicago are currently planning their own. However, the gay-friendly housing complex in Philadelphia, called William Way Senior Residences, will be the first to be funded entirely from public sources, in the form of various government awards and grants.
So far, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has committed $19 million towards the project’s construction – $11 million in the form of tax credits awarded to the Dr. Magnus Hirschfield Fund, and a further $8 million from grants.
The gay-friendly housing development marks the culmination of a decade-long campaign in Philadelphia. Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, told AOL News that he had lobbied city authorities for 10 years in order to see the development given the go ahead.
Segal explained that lesbian and gay seniors are deserving of the accommodation as many of them lack the same kind of support that ‘straight’ seniors have.
“Most of them were in the closet most of their lives. They don’t have the same support systems that other seniors would have,” revealed Segal.