Gay-Friendly Housing Options For Elders: SAGE Housing Initiatives (Part 2)


After losing a mate, one New York LLL is seeking a new home.

Last time, we covered the launch of a queer-friendly housing initiative in New York State, designed to provide decent, affordable apartments to elderly/low income residents. Of special interest to long-lived lesbians in New York, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) will offer LGBT cultural programming and services in Crotona Senior Residences, in the Bronx, and the Ingersoll Senior Residences, in Brooklyn. Demand for the units is high, so places in the new or renovated buildings will be made available by lottery.

Cheryl G., age 64, hopes to be one of the winners of the lottery. She says she would be “ecstatic” to move into her own place in a gay-friendly building.

Until about four years ago, Cheryl lived with her partner in south New Jersey. “We were together about 30 years. When everybody was fighting about getting married, it wasn’t an issue for us. A piece of paper doesn’t make a difference if you love somebody. We were always friends and always lovers. We never fought, not about money, not about who we were, where we were going. No arguments. I figure she must have been my soul mate. But after my mate passed away,” Cheryl adds, “I was living alone in South Jersey, and I needed to be around family.”

In 2012 she moved to Staten Island, into the house of her adult daughter and grandson. The three share a two-bedroom apartment. “My daughter doesn’t have a bedroom. In this situation, you can’t do the things you might want to do by yourself. I can’t have guests, even though she told me I can, because I respect her house. It’s unnerving to me. I’m an independent person.”

Of Cheryl’s orientation, she says, “My daughter respects that and she’s known it all her life, but she doesn’t like it. She knew her father, but she never had a father figure in her life growing up with me. I was Mommy and Daddy.”

These days Cheryl lives without a partner, but not alone. Being a long-lived lesbian, Cheryl would like to be around other gay women. Ready to find her own quarters, Cheryl says, “I’ve been religiously looking for an apartment, but rents here are very, very high.”