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Former middle school in Hyde Park to become New England's first LGBTQ-friendly senior-housing building

Architect's rendering

Architect's rendering of new Rogers courtyard.

The city has selected a local non-profit group and a Philadelphia builder to turn the former William Barton Rogers Middle School in Hyde Park into a 74-unit apartment building aimed at LGBTQ seniors - the first of its kind in New England - Jim Kirker reports in the Hyde Park Neighbors Facebook group.

LGBTQ Senior Housing and Pennrose will also set aside space in the building for highlighting the history of Hyde Park and an art studio and community room as part of the $33 million rehab of the 1899 building.

With the planned LGBTQ-friendly programming and services we will promote a safe and welcoming place in the community for LGBTQ seniors to congregate. Beyond the establishment of this first housing development, we would continue to look for opportunities to develop additional sites as well as providing a template or prototype for use in the development of any senior housing elsewhere.

According to the mayor's office:

Of the 74 total income-restricted rental units in the new Barton Rogers development, eight will be rented to households of individuals who are homeless or who require rental assistance. Another eight will be deeply affordable units for seniors whose income is between approximately $25,000-$40,000 per year. In addition, 34 units will be available to households earning less than 60% AMI (about $55,000 for a two-person household). The remaining units will be rented to households earning up to 80% AMI (8 units) and 100% AMI (16 units).

BPS shut the Rogers in 2015, then turned it over to the Department of Neighborhood Development after concluding that renovating it as a more modern school would cost too much.

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Is that a first?
I can't say I've ever heard of such a thing.

Voting closed 31

Definitely a special need population, considering vulnerability and that the inability to marry for so long means that people weren't able to build wealth like straight people. LGBT elders are sometimes shut out of housing communities by religious charities, too.

Find out more here.

Voting closed 70

I'm glad you mention the income issue. The offensive stereotype that most LGBTQ people, especially gay males, are more affluent than their heterosexual counterparts has been around for far too long now. A a gay male myself I can tell you firsthand that it is not true. Yes indeed there are low income gays, believe it or not.

Voting closed 31

No, housing based on sexual orientation and gender isn't new. Housing that explicitly welcomes and supports LGBT people *instead of favoring heterosexuals* is relatively new.

Single-sex dormitories aren't exactly a new thing, but they're not intended as LGBT-friendly. Generally, those assume that the residents are straight, and sometimes have rules forbidding or limiting other-sex visitors. But that isn't LGBT-friendly: places with that sort of rule are likely to expel anyone caught in a same-sex relationship. It's anti-sex, or at least anti-nonmarital sex.

Also, some nursing homes insist on separating people by gender, even when that means breaking up a married couple and making each person share a room with a same-sex stranger instead of their spouse.

Voting closed 33

There'll be no discrimination, units will be made available by lottery. "LGBTQ-friendly" means the complex will have programs aimed at LGBTQ residents, but don't worry - should you get one of the apartments, they won't try to turn you gay or something.

Voting closed 45

Why the snark? My question was a legitimate one, If people want a LGBTQ friendly building good luck to them, I just have never heard a residential building described that way before.

Voting closed 26

Was perhaps reacting to comments I'm seeing elsewhere, not here.

In any case, yes, this is the first time you're hearing of something like this around here because, as mentioned in the headline, it will be the first such building in New England.

Voting closed 23

I just have never heard a residential building described that way before.

Hopefully some of the comments here regarding the need have been educational for you.

Voting closed 11

It's new, but not quite a first. There's a LGBTQ community center in Los Angeles that recently started to include senior housing. It's one big organization that's been around 50 years, and does tons of other stuff for different age groups.

Voting closed 8

Too many LGBTQ elders have to go back in the closet if they require assisted living or nursing home care. I've heard terrible stories of hostility and bullying by other residents, plus many staff come from countries that are dangerous for anyone who is not straight. I know this is a big fear for an elderly gay relative of mine.

Voting closed 50

.... that Penrose was chosen over Rogerson Communities. Penrose is a for profit organization based in Philadelphia that has not been in operation for very long. Rogerson Communities is a non profit based in the Boston area and it has been serving our community for over 100 years. Rogerson has a sterling reputation and is just as LGBTQ friendly as Penrose.

Voting closed 32

they should turn that building into a public middle school!

Voting closed 19

Seems to be a whole lot of shadowy people hanging around. ;-)

Voting closed 6