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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

LGBTQ+ friendly affordable housing breaks ground in Oakland

LGBTQ%2B+friendly+affordable+housing+breaks+ground+in+Oakland
Courtesy of Nate Yonamine

After about seven years of planning, CEO of Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Jim Pieffer announced that the LGBTQ+ friendly affordable housing community in Oakland will be called Mosaic Apartments. The announcement came following the groundbreaking on May 23, marking the start of construction.

“It’s really reflective in so many ways of this project,” Pieffer said. “It’s a mosaic of funding, it’s been a mosaic of partners.” 

Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, Pennsylvania’s largest aging service provider, partnered with Affirmative Investments, a Boston-based housing developer, to create the community, which will be the first of its kind in Western Pennsylvania. The apartments are scheduled to open in fall 2025 on the corner of Forbes and Craft avenues.

The creation of LGBTQ+ affordable housing seeks to address housing disparities faced by LGBTQ+ adults as well the concerns of 34% of older LGBTQ+ adults who fear having to hide their identity to access senior care.

“Our Network has a decades-long history of awareness of and support for person-centered care and services for seniors,” Pieffer said. “It is consistent with our mission to serve underserved seniors who need our care and support. It will be an honor to serve this special population of older adults who have been deeply discriminated against over the years.” 

Presbyterian SeniorCare Network and Affirmative Investments worked closely with local organizations including the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Persad Center. They received funding from nine sources to make the project possible, including $4 million in low-income housing tax credits in 2022.

The apartments were originally set to be located in Lawrenceville. However, when that location did not work out, they turned to Oakland. Pitt, UPMC and Dialysis Inc. donated the land for the site.

“Pitt embraces its role as an anchor institution and a partner in the Oakland community in community-led efforts to increase housing affordability and homeownership,” Pitt Vice Chancellor of Engagement and Community Affairs Lina Dostilio said. “Oakland is one of Pittsburgh’s most welcoming and diverse neighborhoods, and we are honored to play a part in these efforts.”

The project received the support of both the Office of the Mayor and Minority Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate Jay Costa. Senator Costa said he worked closely with Pieffer and many others who were a part of the project.

“I think I can stand here and tell you as long as I’m going to be around, we’re going to continue to advocate for more housing of this nature across this region,” Costa said.

Maria Montaño, communications director and spokesperson for the mayor’s office, made remarks following the groundbreaking, describing the project as “a testament to the strength and commitment to the LGBT community here in Pittsburgh.”

“This new senior housing community is a result of what happens when we can all come together,” Montaño said. “It’s a reminder to the seniors of our community that they are not forgotten.”

Throughout the planning process, the developers said they consulted members of the LGBTQ+ community in different focus groups. Mike Hellman, a resident of Oakland, helped provide input on the apartments as a part of the Older Wiser Leaders, a group for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies ages 50 and older at the Persad Center.

Hellman described the development as “very exciting” and emphasized how it could bring both elder members of the LGBTQ+ and allies together. As an adviser, he said that his biggest emphasis was proximity to UPMC and medical facilities.

“I think it’s a beginning,” Hellman said.