Stories from Chicago’s LGBT-friendly Town Hall Apartments
Happy New Year to our dear readers of Lesbian News! For some good vibes reading for the start of the year, here are some feel-good stories about Town Hall Apartments, Chicago’s first LGBT-friendly Senior Housing facility.
Set up in 2014, Town Hall Apartments in Chicago is a facility run by a partnership between Heartland Alliance and Center on Halsted.
The six-story apartment buildings has 79 studio units and 1-bedroom apartments designed for seniors, retail space, and community rooms for classes and special events.
Because the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, Town Hall is LGBT-friendly and not LGBT-exclusive.
The senior LGBT-friendly Town Hall Apartments
Of course, Town Hall Apartments is not the only LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing facility in the US.
There’s also one in LA that was opened in 2007, while two others in Minneapolis and Philadelphia have also opened.
However, Town Hall Apartments services an urgent demand for housing that LGBT seniors can afford.
This is important to consider, given that the LGBT elderly population is set to double from about 1.5 million in 2010 to three million in 2030, according to the Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
Moreover, the LGBT group SAGE pointed out that older LGBT adults are poorer and less financially secure than American elders in general.
On the other hand, almost half of same-sex couples looking for senior housing encounter discrimination, according to the Equal Rights Center.
“The LGBT senior population in particular is an extremely vulnerable population,” Heartland executive director Michael Goldberg said.
“Social isolation and not having that family network they can rely on is definitely an acute problem within the LGBT senior community,” Goldberg added.
3 LGBT stories from Town Hall Apartments
Here are some stories from those who live Town Hall Apartments:
Pat Cummings said, “I was eight years old when I got caught French-kissing one of my little friends behind the couch.”
“I come from a nice upper-middle-class family. There’s nine of us children. Being staunch Catholics, my parents just freaked with the fact that they had two, a gay man and a lesbian, in their family,” she said.
When her mother retired and moved to Florida in 1993, she called her and apologized: “It was really amazing to watch her make that change in her life and to become cognizant of the fact that the church had lied to her about gays and lesbians and about her own children.”
On the other hand, Tom Genley said he moved into Town Hall Apartments because: “This place is going to have closets for clothes. It took long enough for me to get out. I didn’t want to go back in.”
Though Genley’s family gradually accepted him being gay, he found more support with the LGBT community: “When you’re not affiliated with your family, you get to know more people just like you, and they are your family. They treat you like brothers and sisters.”
Lastly, Eva Skye described herself as transgender before– but now prefers being called punk queer: “I’m fine with third gender. I’m not a man. I’m not a woman. I identify with female.”
“My family– we were estranged even before all that happened, so they don’t even know. They probably wouldn’t even care. My family is the rainbow community. My life is now,” Skye added of her life in the Town Hall Apartments.