San Francisco moved a step closer to getting its first affordable housing development for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors.
The project, which is being developed by Openhouse and Mercy Housing California, was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission.
The 110-unit development would be the largest in the country targeting LGBT seniors.
With the Planning Commission approval secure, developers will focus on assembling the local, state, and federal funding sources needed to build the project. Construction is expected in late 2014.
"The 55 Laguna development addresses a critical need for LGBT seniors who face enormous challenges in finding welcoming and affordable housing," said Seth Kilbourn, executive director of Openhouse, in a statement. "For decades, thousands of LGBT people have come to San Francisco to find personal freedom and acceptance. As older adults with increasing needs, the pioneers of this migration are being forced back into the closet in order to receive the quality care and housing they need. They are being forced to relocate and leave dear friends behind. 55 Laguna will be a critical community resource to help LGBT seniors age with dignity and grace in the city they call home."
The proposed development also includes the Openhouse service offices and a center for residents and LGBT seniors from across the city. More than 25,000 LGBT seniors live in San Francisco, according to the developers.
The project is part of a larger development that will include 330 new multifamily rental units being developed by Wood Partners. Fifty of the multifamily units will be available to low-income renters. Wood Partners plans to break ground on the larger project in early 2013.
Mercy Housing is a leading affordable housing developer and provider, and Openhouse is a provider of services to LGBT seniors.