CHICAGO — The Chicago region's first affordable housing complex for LGBTQ seniors opened in Lakeview Friday.
Developed by Heartland Housing Inc., Town Hall Apartments, 3600 N. Halsted St., has replaced the historic Town Hall police station, which was known for being a symbol of gay discrimination in the 1970s and '80s, according to Heartland Alliance's website.
Today, the six-story complex is made up of 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments designed solely for LGBTQ residents who are 55 or older, according to a news release.
After a decade of research and advocacy by Heartland Alliance, LGBTQ advocates joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Heartland Housing Executive Director Michael Goldberg to formally open the building Friday.
There are more than 40,000 LGBTQ seniors in Chicago and one in five live in poverty, Emanuel said.
"This is unacceptable," he said. "Town Hall not only provides affordable housing to dozens of Lakeview seniors but it is a safe and comfortable place to live as these residents grow older."
At Town Hall Apartments, seniors will be protected under the Chicago Housing Authority's Property Rental Assistance program, according to the release.
And to keep costs down, rents will be capped at no more than 30 percent of a tenant's income.
Center on Halsted plans to move its senior services program to the first floor of the complex.
Modesto “Tico” Valle, CEO of the center, said the complex, which offers a total of 4,500 square feet of commercial space and 20 parking spaces, will help address the challenging issues that LGBTQ seniors face.
“More frequently and proportionally this generation lives in isolation and experiences housing and healthcare discrimination [more] than their straight counterparts," Valle said. "With more than 50,000 seniors who identify as LGBTQ in the Chicagoland area, Town Hall will act as model, both locally and nationally to address these issues.”
The project was made possible in large part due to a $5 million loan from the city and $1.5 million in low income housing tax credits that generated $14.5 million in equity. State and federal grants made up the rest.
span>While the building retains a historical charm because it's connected to a landmarked town hall police station built in 1907, it also has a green roof, high-efficiency fixtures and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, among other sustainable elements.
The maximum number of seniors are already living in the sustainable building thanks to CHA-managed lists, according to the release.
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