Resource Center has launched a $4 million capital campaign for the construction of LGBTQ-friendly and affordable senior housing, officials announced today (Wednesday, Dec. 16). The campaign, led by community advocates Lynn McBee and Phil Clemmons, was prompted by the need to “meet the growing demand for affordable housing and care and services for the aging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning population in the Dallas community,” according to a statement released this afternoon.
Resource Center has partnered with Volunteers of America and developer Matthews Southwest, the press release noted, and has already purchased property in the Oak Lawn neighborhood. A recent donation of $150,000 by longtime Center supporters Stephen Tosha and Stephen Strecansky put the capital campaign over the $1 million mark.
“We feel grateful to be able to give support to this worthy project as we believe the need is so great in our community,” Tosha said in the press release. “The community has supported us in my business, and it is our mission to give back to the LGBTQ community.”
Even though society is becoming more accepting of LGBTQ people, older LGBTQ individuals still live with a legacy of fear and social stigma that has “disrupted their lives, their connections with their families of origin, their lifetime earnings and their opportunities to save for retirement,” the press release noted. And, it continued, “the added stress of dealing with decades of discrimination [puts] LGBTQ older adults at risk of physical and mental illness and other conditions, such as chronic diseases, depression, disability, poor nutrition, high premature mortality and social isolation.”
The Center’s vision for this project is to provide LGBTQ seniors with “affirming opportunities for socialization, recreation and emotional support” and to “transform the way LGBTQ older adults live, access services and develop community support for generations to come.”
The housing project will consist of an 84-unit building with amenities and open green space on a two-acre site near Inwood Road and Denton Drive Cutoff. The site, according to the press release “has excellent access to services and transportation, including the Inwood Road DART Station.” It will also be located about half a mile from Resource Center’s Community Center at 5750 Cedar Springs Road.
The overall budget for the budget is about $23 million; it is expected to be financed with public funds from state and local sources and private mortgage financing in addition to the money raised through the capital campaign.
Resource Center CEO Cece Cox, expressing gratitude for Tosha and Stracansky for their donation, added, “In the wake of COVID-19, the need to address health and economic disparities is even more urgent. According to a 2020 briefing issued by the Human Rights Campaign, the impact of coronavirus places LGBTQ adults at heightened risk of these complications due to their experiences with poverty and unique medical challenges.
“With a global pandemic exacerbating the issues already faced by this population, a safe and affordable housing project is needed now more than ever,” Cox stressed.
Resource Center has offered senior-focused programming and services since 2007, and in 2013 resolved to increase the size and scope of THRIVE, its community program for older adults.
THRIVE’S programming is intended to combat issues facing LGBTQ seniors such as social isolation and depression. The program “actively creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie for participants,” center officials said, adding that their goal is to use the center’s “extensive experience in improving seniors’ mental, physical and emotional health positions [to provide] this visionary LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing development.”
For information, contact Senior Development Manager Dean S. Wilson at 214-540-4424 or visit MyResourceCenter.org/capital-campaign.