Philadelphia's First LGBT Affordable Senior Housing

The Dr. Magnus Herschfeld Fund, an LGBT advocacy group, and Pennrose Properties, a local development and property management firm have teamed up to build the William Way Senior Residences at 249-257 S. 13th Street.  They hope to begin construction of Philadelphia's first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender- friendly affordable senior housing this fall.

The project took a big step forward with a unanimous passing by city council of a resolution introduced by first district councilman Mark Squilla authorizing the city's Redevelopment Authority to sell the property to the development team for about $1.5 million.  The building was previously used as a storage facility by RDA.

This process is a major step for the Philadelphia LGBT community, notes gay rights activist Mark Segal, dhmf Board President.  Segal explained, while there are many demographic studies on seniors in Jewish, African American, Protestant and a host of other communities, there aren't many on gay seniors.  "It's a new frontier, "he said. "But what we've seen in city after city after city is that LGBT people have the same problems as anybody else.  So what we're doing is creating a community for elderly LGBT people where they can feel safe, secure and grow old, and have a very decent form of life.

The 56-apartment project will cost $19.1 million.  This includes purchasing the property, tearing down the existing warehouse and constructing the six story building.  All 56 apartments will be one-bedroom units. the ground floor will have 1,800 sq feet of commercial space.  Some of the spacew may be available for community purposes like a theater.  The goal is to have the building completed by the end of 2013


  1. What a great idea. All seniors, regardless of orientation deserve to have a safe place to call home.

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