Local, state and federal officials gathered at the closed William Barton Rogers School in Hyde Park today to dig the ceremonial first shovels of dirt for a project that will turn it into a 74-unit apartment building aimed at LGBTQ senior citizens - the first such project in New England.
When finished in 18 months, the rehab, by LGBTQ Senior Housing and Pennrose, which has offices in Boston and Philadelphia, will also include a community room in the former auditorium, an art gallery and even some classrooms for life-long learning programs. It will also house the new home of the group that honors the 54th Massachusetts regiment, which trained in Hyde Park.
Some 50 of the apartments in the Everett Street building will be rented to people making no more than 60% of the the Boston area-median income.
LGBTQ Senior Housing President Aileen Montour explained the need for a building that is LGBTQ-friendly:
LGBTQ seniors face higher rates of housing discrimination, lower incomes, higher unemployment, increased food insecurity, and deal with the legacy of trauma and social isolation, with fewer traditional supports. ... Our older adults especially appreciate the opportunity to live authentically and unapologetically in a supportive community - we feel seen, heard and cared about.