CHW responds to community concerns about San Diego’s first LGBT-affirming senior communityAround the City, Bottom Highlights, Commentary Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Community HousingWorks (CHW) sent the following to Betty Owen in response to her letter published in San Diego LGBT Weekly, Sept. 15.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention here at CHW.
The time and energy that you and many other members of the community put in to advocate and create a community that will be safe and affirming for LGBT seniors was key to making North Park Seniors a reality. While some advocates may have wanted a community “specifically for, even though not exclusively for” LGBT seniors, CHW and every other owner, affordable or market rate, has to operate within the law. I was at the June meeting with you. After that discussion, CHW consulted our attorneys who affirmed that Fair Housing law very clearly prohibits discrimination against, or in favor of, sexual orientation and other protected classes like gender, race and ethnicity.
By contracting with The Center, a nonprofit that is experienced at providing services to a wide range of senior citizens and deeply sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community, to provide services to all residents, CHW can insure that North Park Seniors will offer a safe and affirming place for LBGT seniors.
Why the lottery? You are correct to point out that CHW’s decision to use a lottery evolved over time. Over the past ten years, CHW has used both “first come first serve” and the lottery to take applications. Given the large numbers of people applying for affordable homes in the current housing crisis, CHW policy is to use a lottery because it is the most fair, open and transparent selection process. “First come first serve” creates barriers to seniors with communication and mobility challenges, and those without the skill or access to use computers and who live further away from the drop off site. The lottery will give those seniors the fair opportunity to complete an application. The community needs a process that is open and fair. And the law requires it.
The Center is doing independent outreach so that members of the LGBT community are aware of this opportunity and are ready to put their names on the Interest List. A lottery guarantees that, when LGBTQ folks are well represented on the interest list, LGBTQ folks get that same chance to apply. A “first come first serve” list can’t do that. We talked to staff at two existing LGBT friendly apartment complexes operating in other cities, who told us they used lotteries to select their residents and they successfully created affordable housing communities that have strong representation from LGBT seniors.
When the doors to North Park Seniors open, I am confident that with your help, we will have created a community that is open to all and safe and affirming for LGBT senior residents.
Anne B. Wilson
Senior Vice President
Housing and Real Estate Development
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=74203