John C. Anderson Apartments Move-In Scheduled for January 2014, with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in February 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The John C. Anderson Apartments — the nation’s pioneering LGBT-friendly, low-income senior housing apartment complex, located in the heart of the Philadelphia Gayborhood – has passed all city, state and federal inspections and is now certified to accept residents. Accepted applicants are now receiving notification and information about move-in, which will begin in January 2014. To mark the completion of this significant project, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in late January or early February.
The apartments — named for John C. Anderson, a Philadelphia City Council member from 1979 until his death in 1983, instrumental in the passage of Philadelphia’s civil rights bill for sexual minority individuals – broke ground in November 2012. Financing for the $19.5 million project was provided through a Philadelphia HOME grant, Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Programfunds, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Pennrose Properties, one of the nation’s top 10 affordable housing developers, oversaw the project. WRT Design was the architect and Domus Inc. was the general contractor.
The need for services to the aging LGBT community is well documented. A National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study in 2010 estimated there were 3 million LGBT Americans over the age of 65 and that number will double by 2030. A 2013 study by the Philadelphia Public Health Management Corporation reported that 48 percent of local LGBT seniors found it difficult to afford housing and 13 percent were living in unstable environments – including a rented room, house or apartment where their name was not on the deed/lease or a shelter.
The apartments have partnered with four local organizations to provide events and social services for the residents. The Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia’s LGBT health care and wellness center; ActionAIDS, a Philadelphia-based organization committed to an AIDS-free generation; the William Way Community Center, a Philadelphia community center which seeks to encourage, support and advocate for sexual and gender minorities’ and The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, a private, non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for older Philadelphians will all utilize the building’s community room.
A Home in the Heart of the Gayborhood
Philadelphia is a fitting home for this senior residence. The “City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection” was ranked the number one most gay-friendly big city nationwide in the 2013 Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index – an evaluation of city and municipal government laws and policies, and an examination of how inclusive city services are of LGBT people. Philadelphia was the highest scoring city of the ten largest cities and the highest scoring city without state legal protections or marriage-equality legislation. Unlike other quality of life, city atmosphere, or “best cities” rankings, the Municipal Equality Index ranks the work of city government on steps towards LGBT equality. Additionally, the first gay rights march took place in front of Independence Hall in 1965, Pennsylvania was the first state to enact discrimination protection for sexual orientation in state employment in 1975 under Gov. Milton Shapp and Philadelphia was one of the first cities to pass anti-gay discrimination legislation in 1982.
Located at 249 South 13th Street, in the heart of the Philadelphia Gayborhood, the six-story residence has 56 one-bedroom units, each with oversized windows. The Energy Star 3.0 building also features a vegetated green roof and solar thermal hot water system. A 5,000 square-foot enclosed courtyard, outdoor deck and multi-purpose public spaces to be shared by residents and the four community partners, foster a sense of community. The transformation of the space from a Redevelopment Authority garage into an attractive, well-lit residence adds to the ongoing revitalization of the 13th Street corridor. This location allows residents easy access to all that Center City has to offer – public transportation, world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and social/healthcare services all within walking distance.
Founded in 2004, the non-profit dmhFund was established to support programs that address concerns in the LGBT community that are overlooked by other traditional sources, including HIV/AIDS education, fighting prejudice, youth services, senior programs and housing, anti-discrimination and race relations within the community. The mission of the dmhFund is to translate the best of contemporary social and medical science into change that protects, enhances and saves lives.
About Pennrose Properties
With nearly 30 years of experience, Pennrose combines quality development and proven management to deliver exceptional lifestyle-centered living communities for its residents. Whether developing its own properties or working with outside partners to manage and maintain an existing property, Pennrose has the superior knowledge and unparalleled dedication to get the job done right. Pennrose operates both conventional and affordable communities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Alabama and Tennessee.
[From a News Release]