WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (PIX11) – Westchester County is getting its first LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing development for seniors in downtown White Plains.
“What we’re doing is taking a piece of county land that is currently owned by the county and reconfiguring it so that it could be constructed into affordable housing that will be friendly for the LGBTQ+ community and a place where those individuals — seniors — can feel that they have not just a house or an apartment but a home,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
There will be 140 units in the development, and the ground floor will house the new headquarters for the LOFT, an organization in White Plains that has served the LGBTQ+ community in Westchester and the surrounding area for 40 years. The executive director of the LOFT said aging can be a scary time, entering a new chapter in life.
“The idea of going into an environment where people don’t really know you, know about you — many folks go back in the closet — and we want to avoid that. We want to celebrate our seniors,” said Judy Troilo, executive director of the LOFT.
The center will double its size in the new space to continue its advocacy, education and health care services.
“I am so happy about this. You have no idea,” said Frances Ryan, who has been a member of the LOFT for decades. “I needed to connect with community. I needed to find out that there were more than just myself. I needed to feel comfortable.”
A sense of belonging is what the center has provided her and will continue to provide in the new residential building to the senior residents.
“They need some place to come together so they don’t feel alone, they don’t feel scared, so they don’t have to go back in the closet like they might have had to do in other times of their life,” Ryan said.
Seniors of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply to the lottery. The building is LGBTQ+ friendly, meaning those living there must be welcoming.
Social services organization HANAC is also a partner in the project. The development is expected to be completed in 2024.