Mark Segal

Getting a Piece of the Pie

Filed By Mark Segal | April 22, 2012 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: LGBT senior housing, LGBT seniors, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Philadelphia

On Monday we announced that "The Pie in the Sky" project, which was made public about two years ago, is now a reality.

7PBF_Sr_Center_Nutter___group.jpegMayor Michael Nutter joined the board of Dr. Magnus Hirschfield Fund president Mark Segal April 16 at William Way LGBT Community Center to celebrate a victory for LGBT seniors. Photo: Scott A. Drake for Philadelphia Gay News.

This is how we reported on the project in the pages of Philadelphia Gay News almost two years ago:

We call it the 'Pie in the Sky' project. For many of us, it's the most ambitious project we've ever undertaken. To find a home, a safe place to give our LGBT seniors to live; to bring them a home to thrive in their very own community. I have no illusions that the proposal has many more milestones to meet. It is not a done deal yet. And it will take the support and input of the entire community and our elected officials who have committed to follow through on this dream.

Last Thursday, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency met to decide which projects would be awarded tax credits this year. I'm happy to report The Pie in the Sky project was awarded in that very competitive field.

The project is now fully funded at $19 million. It is, as the mayor said during the announcement, the largest LGBT-friendly capitol-building project in the United States. The White House and HUD spotlighted the project as "pioneering innovation in U.S. housing solutions for low-income LGBT seniors."

We're moving very fast, and for that reason it hasn't sunk in yet. I'm still doing my thank-you's, and, as we all know, I'm bound to forget someone.

The list is as big as the project: two governors; Mayor Nutter; the Philadelphia Congressional delegation, particularly Congressman Bob Brady and Sen. Bob Casey; the Pennsylvania Senate and House leadership, with a special shout out to Rep. Mike O'Brien and Mary Isaacson. There are so many more, but two groups that need special thanks. One, our community. Thank you for your overwhelming support. After our shaky beginnings, that support over the last year is heartfelt. And a personal thanks to the board of dmhFund, whom I am proud to say is the best board I've ever served on. They were professional, pragmatic and always found a way to move forward. "No" was never an option for them.

I'll finish where I began: We have many more hurdles to jump, but the question is no longer will it be built but, rather, when is the ribbon cutting?


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