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Community gathers for groundbreaking of Western Pennsylvania's first affording housing complex for LGBTQ seniors

Groundbreaking held for Western PA's first LGBTQ+ affordable senior housing
Groundbreaking held for Western PA's first LGBTQ+ affordable senior housing 02:14

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A little more than one week from the start of Pride Month, local organizations came together in Oakland to break ground on Western Pennsylvania's first affordable housing complex for seniors in the LGBTQ+ community, only the second of its kind in the state.

Martin Healey put shovel to dirt with other local leaders at an empty space by Forbes and Craft Thursday morning.

"As a kid, I can remember driving up Forbes here and knowing someday this space will be developed, never even thinking that this is what would end up here," Healey said.

What's going up there are the new Mosaic Apartments.

"It's so wonderful to see this come to fruition," Healey said.

They will be a home for elderly members of the LGBTQ+ community, a group Healey serves as the CEO of the mental health agency, the Persad Center.

Over time, he said they realized it's not easy for this group to move into any old senior facility.

"It's scary you sometimes have to go back into the closet. There's not necessarily a safe space all the time," Healey said.

It's why about seven years ago they asked Presbyterian SeniorCare Network to build affordable housing just for those 62 or older.

CEO Jim Pieffer said they raised nearly $30 million for the project, which will be made up of 48 units.

"Through the generosity of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, we were able to secure this site at no cost," Pieffer said.

"We've seen situations where they have fear and have isolation and loneliness that hopefully this type of place will break," Healey said.

By 2030, there are expected to be seven million LGBTQ+ plus seniors in the United States, according to SAGE National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging.

The need is great now and will only continue to grow.

"My hope is that this is the start of something far bigger and far greater for our community, not just here in Pittsburgh, but more across the country," Healey said.

Those interested in living in the community will be able to apply around March 2025, about six months before it's set to open in the fall.

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