Giving Compass' Take:
- Jesus "Jesse" Leon describes his experience advocating for the increased availability of mixed-income, LGBT-friendly senior housing.
- How might the pandemic exacerbate existing issues with the availability of affordable housing for LGBT seniors? How can philanthropy and private investment help to provide LGBT seniors with affordable housing?
- Read about LGBT community health centers.
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Lisa, a sixty-four year old, Latina Lesbian, has been an advocate and provider of LatinX services at one of San Diego’s leading LGBT organizations for more than three decades. Until recently, Lisa was able to walk to work in the gayborhood of Hillcrest; however, after twenty-five years, her landlord decided to sell the home Lisa was living in. With rents too high and two-year waiting lists at the affordable senior housing developments in the area, Lisa could no longer afford to live in the community where she had impacted the lives of so many. Lisa moved thirty-five minutes south near the Tijuana border. She felt isolated and depressed, which was only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a Gay Latino working at the intersections of finance, real estate development, and philanthropy, I have spent most of my career advocating for resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. And I see many stories like Lisa’s – stories of our respected LGBT elders struggling to find affordable places to live due to a lack of safe, LGBT-friendly, senior housing in communities where they’ve established strong social and professional ties.
We need to increase the supply of mixed-income, LGBT-friendly senior housing by ensuring diverse, targeted funding streams beyond the LIHTC are made available for these specific types of developments across the country. Philanthropy and private investment in housing impact funds are the best resources to fill this gap. Without this commitment to invest in affordable, LGBT senior housing, it won’t just be our elders like Lisa, but younger generations too, who will experience displacement and isolation as they age.
Read the full article about LGBT senior housing by Jesus "Jesse" Leon at LGBTQ Policy Journal.