Ground broken on North Park LGBT senior housing

Work began Wednesday on a 76-unit apartment complex in North Park that will be San Diego's first gay- and lesbian-friendly affordable housing facility for seniors.

At a groundbreaking ceremony, senior LGBT advocate Robert Bettinger said the $27.5-million project will help the many older gays and lesbians who don't have family support.

"Many people are going to benefit from relief from isolation, depression and anxiety and find that moments in their last days can be full of compassion and warmth," said Bettinger, who was part of a grassroots movement at the San Diego LGBT Community Center to support the development. "I'm happy for the many people who will go forward in hope, safety and comfort."

The facility, a collaboration between the center and Community Housing Works, is expected to open in December 2017. Supportive services will be available on site, and open to all seniors, according to CHW.

Delores Jacobs, CEO of the center, said seniors form the foundation of the LGBT community.

"They led us from the Stonewall riots through the most devastating years of the AIDS crisis to where we are today, yet their needs are often overlooked," Jacobs said. "These pioneers of the LGBT community deserve our respect, our support and, when necessary, our help."

Four affordable housing facilities for LGBT seniors exist in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, and a fifth is under construction in San Francisco, according to CHW.

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