SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As rent prices in Sacramento continue to top some neighborhoods in Washington D.C. and New York City, some seniors are struggling to stay afloat.
“I’ve been on the verge of homelessness the whole year. I mean I couldn’t pay full rent,” said Francesca Dixon.
Dixon says it has been especially hard finding places that are accepting of older members of the LGBTQ community.
“It would be nice to have a place where we can live that is safe,” she said. “Things like that really don’t exist, and a lot of times when they do, they’re really not affordable.”
So, when Dixon discovered Mutual Housing of California was constructing an affordable housing complex that was welcoming of LGBTQ seniors, called the Lavender Courtyard, she could not wait to get her name on the list.
“We’re all anxious for it,” Dixon said.
The plan is to build 53 housing units for people who are 62 years and older, and construction for the complex has been in the works since October of 2020 and should tentatively be done by spring of 2022.
It is something advocates for both seniors and members of the LGBTQ community say is desperately needed right now.
“We need units in the Sacramento region desperately,” said Robynne Rose-Haymer.
Rose-Haymer, director of housing services of Sacramento’s LGBTQ Community Center, says the weight of finding people affordable housing is becoming overwhelming for them as well.
“Presently, for our 12-bed shelter, we have 18 people on the waiting list,” Rose-Haymer said.
But after also hearing about the latest development coming to the Lavender Heights District, she breathed a sigh of relief, saying it could be precursor of better things to come.
“We as a society have not prioritized senior housing,” Rose-Haymer said. “It is amazing that someone took enough care and concern to go through that seven-year process to be able to bring this development online.”
And for Dixon, she is feeling more hopeful for the future.
“It would be nice to have a home,” Dixon said. “I’m really looking forward to the Lavender Courtyard.”
According to Mutual Housing, 20% of seniors 65 years and older suffer from depression and those in the LGBTQ community are twice as likely to be living alone. They hope the housing unit can help change those statistics.