By Jennifer Collins
To meet the growing demand for affordable housing and care and services for the aging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) population in the Dallas community, Resource Center has launched a $4M capital campaign for the construction of LGBTQ-friendly affordable senior housing.
The campaign is led by community advocates Lynn McBee and Phil Clemmons. The Center has partnered with Volunteers of America and developer Matthews Southwest and has purchased property in the Oaklawn neighborhood of Dallas, which is historically significant to the LGBTQ community. With a recent donation of $150,000 by longtime Center supporters Stephen Tosha and Stephen Strecansky, the Center has crossed the $1 million mark of the campaign. Tosha says: “We feel grateful to be able to give support to this worthy project as we believe the need is so great in our community. The community has supported us in my business, and it is our mission to give back to the LGBTQ community.”
Society’s view and acceptance of LGBTQ people is changing. However, for older adults, the fear and social stigma they have experienced has disrupted their lives, their connections with their families of origin, their lifetime earnings and their opportunities to save for retirement. Additionally, the added stress of dealing with decades of discrimination renders 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.
Through providing seniors with affirming opportunities for socialization, recreation and emotional support, the Center’s vision is to transform the way LGBTQ older adults live, access services, and develop community support for generations to come. The 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 has excellent access to services and transportation, including the Inwood Road DART Station. The overall project budget is approximately $23 million. In addition to funds from the capital campaign, the project is expected to be financed by public funds from state and local sources and private mortgage financing.
Resource Center CEO Cece Cox says: “We are grateful for the generous support of Stephen Tosha and Stephen Stracansky in helping us achieve this vision. 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 (HRC), 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.”
As a trusted and pioneering leader in the LGBTQ community, the Center has offered senior-focused programming and services since 2007. In 2013, the Center 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. Through community involvement and engagement, THRIVE actively creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie for participants. The Center’s extensive experience in improving seniors’ mental, physical, and emotional health positions it to provide this visionary LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing development.
To request information, visit myresourcecenter.org/capital-campaign/.