By William E. Kelly | Senior Matters
The focus of this article is information regarding the application process and instructions for those interested in applying, qualifying and living in one of the 76 apartments currently under construction in the first LGBT-affirming senior housing project in North Park.
But first, it is important to know a little about how this project came about, because more are needed and it is up to the community to advocate for them if they are to be built.
Scheduled to open sometime in December, the dream originated a decade ago on my 60th birthday and later found a nest in a room behind the front desk of The San Diego Community Center.
Dr. Delores Jacobs granted my request for a meeting space to address the need for LGBT-affirmative and affordable senior housing. Spearheaded by the ad hoc volunteer grass-roots committee of ordinary citizens and community organization leaders we assembled, the work began.
It was a time of overwhelming demands on resources already battling the ravages of HIV/AIDS, marriage equality, health care, youth homelessness, LGBTQ civil equality, hunger, poverty and don’t ask, don’t tell.
Inspired by the construction of such housing in much larger cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, the group pushed forward raising the funds required for conducting an in-depth needs assessment that led to more meetings than could have ever been imagined. Years of meetings with government and neighborhood groups were held to make the case for San Diego Community HousingWorks’ North Park Senior Apartments.
Collectively we owe this outcome to the incredibly long hours and dedication provided by hundreds of our community member volunteers, donors, government offices and officials and the community organizations that serve us all.
Before sharing the application process, make no mistake, much more such housing is needed and this sign of success is not the end but the beginning. New blood needs to be brought into the ongoing efforts.
Interest list and formal application process
The interest list registration is online and starts Monday, May 1 at 9 a.m. and will remain open until 5 p.m., May 7. Visit tinyurl.com/m4sgjz4.
If you don’t have access to a computer, the Cyber Center at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, located at 3909 Centre St. in Hillcrest, will have staff and volunteers available to assist people with online registration from May 1–5, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Note that The Center will not be available over the weekend of May 6 and 7. Phone registrations for the interest list will not be accepted and duplicate applications will be removed.
Once the interest registration is closed, a videotaped computer lottery witnessed by an independent third party will randomly select 125 names that will be mailed rental applications with clear instructions, which will be date- and time-stamped.
Applicants will then be called in for preliminary interviews in the order the applications are received. This process will be completed no greater than 120 days prior to the Property Certificate of Occupancy.
Once all units have been rented, the remaining applicants will go on a waiting list in the order they were received.
The rental application packet will include directions as well as the location, date and time you are to bring the completed application for your formal interview.
Applicants who cannot be present for their assigned interview date/time must follow the instructions for rescheduling that will be included. All household members must be present at the scheduled interview.
A 24-hour advance notice is needed in order to cancel and reschedule your formal interview. At this time minimum requirements will be reviewed and income/asset documents reviewed.
The process to verify income and assets will begin at this time. Please keep in mind that the average application processing time is three weeks from the date that all required documentation is supplied for processing.
Based on the current timeline, formal interviews will be scheduled in August and September 2017, although all dates are subject to change without notice.
For frequently asked questions about the project, visit tinyurl.com/hnmubza.
—Bill Kelly is a longtime local activist who currently focuses on LGBT senior issues and moderates the Caring for our LGBT Seniors in San Diego Facebook page. Access to the group is free to all seniors, their advocates, families, friends and caregivers. Reach Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.