Los Angeles LGBT Center shows off expansion plans

The revolutionary new campus will include up to 100 units of affordable housing for seniors, 100 beds for homeless youth (double the number we currently have), new senior and youth centers, up to 35 units of permanent supportive housing for young people, a commercial kitchen to feed homeless youth and seniors, ground floor retail space, and 350 subterranean parking spaces for residents and visitors to The Village.

BY GREGORY CORNFIELD  |  As part of a major expansion, the Los Angeles LGBT Center released renderings this week of a landmark mixed-use development that will provide housing and services and fill a need for at-risk youth and seniors.

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The new Anita May Rosenstein Campus, scheduled to open in early 2019, will be located at 1118-1139 McCadden Pl. and 6719-6733 Santa Monica Blvd., directly across the street from The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. It will consist of 100 affordable units for seniors, 100 beds for homeless youth and 35 units of permanent supportive housing for young adults.

“We are bursting at the seams,” said Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the LGBT Center. “In fact, our growth has far outpaced what we projected.”

Jean said they have not been able to “come anywhere close to meeting the need” for LGBT youth in the community. After the approval of marriage equality nationwide last year, she explained that some people assume the fight for overall equality is complete.

“People are still kicking kids out on the street for their sexual orientation, churches are condemning them and they are getting bullied in school,” she said.

She added that the senior population is growing by “leaps and bounds.” There are more than 65,000 LGBT seniors in Los Angeles, and Jean said that number is going to double by 2030.

“We’re dealing with the first generation of LGBT seniors who were true to who they are and who come to the center for help,” she said. “LGBT seniors in comparison [to the general population] are more likely not to have children or grandchildren to care for them, and they are much poorer. Affordable housing is the number one request we get from senior clients.”

Jean said management at many assisted living centers has improved and become much more accepting, but that doesn’t mean the other residents are also accepting.

“People move into some facilities and feel unwelcome,” she said. “Some feel like they have to go back into the closet and they don’t feel safe.”

The new campus will also be the center’s new administrative headquarters, freeing space for the McDonald/Wright building to become a health and medical center, enabling staff to meet the growing demand for health-related services, including medical care, mental health services, addiction recovery, HIV/STD testing and treatment and more. The new campus will also include senior and youth centers, a commercial kitchen to feed homeless individuals, ground-floor retail space and 350 subterranean parking spaces.

The center is engaged in a campaign to raise $40 million or more for the new facility. Phase I of the campaign – securing $25 million in pledges – has already been completed. The second phase – $15 million in pledges – is underway with approximately $3 million secured, Jean said.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion by Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, to allocate $50,000 from the Hollywood Redevelopment Project Area Special Fund toward construction and development. The special fund comes from money received from community improvement fees from the Hollywood and Highland project.

For information on how to support the fundraising campaign, contact Bill McDermott at (323)993-7679.

— this article first appeared in Beverly Press.

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