The Pryde, an affordable housing project for LGBTQ+ seniors, received some good news on the funding front Thursday. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Ed Markey secured $850,000 in funding for The Pryde as part of a Senate appropriations bill.
If that number sounds familiar, it is the same amount House Republicans voted to denythe housing project last week in an appropriations hearing. After that setback, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who had championed the project being built in her district, partnered with Warren and Markey to brainstorm other ways to secure that funding.
“While Republicans continue their hateful, anti-gay crusade, we remain undeterred in our fight to affirm the dignity and humanity of our LGBTQ+ neighbors,” said Pressley in a comment to GBH News. “I’m grateful to Senators Warren and Markey for working in partnership with me to get this critical funding for The Pryde into the Senate appropriations bill. Our LGBTQ+ elders in the Massachusetts 7th [District] deserve this affordable housing and community space, and we’ll keep fighting to get this funding over the finish line.”
The funding allocated for The Pryde is part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which provides $224.4 billion in discretionary funding. The bill will be included in the House and Senate fiscal year 2024 budget negotations in the fall. But advocates praise this funding in the Senate bill as a huge step in the right direction.
In a comment to GBH News, Warren said, “Senator Markey and I understood the assignment: support The Pryde’s effort to build community in Hyde Park by delivering this $850,000 in federal funding into the Senate appropriations bill. Now we’re going to keep fighting hard to pass a budget into law that reflects our values, and I am so grateful to have a partner in progress like Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.”
Slated as New England’s first senior LGBTQ+ housing development, The Pryde will include 74 mixed-income rental units in addition to a public community center.
“The Pryde will not only be essential in upholding the safety, security, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community here in Boston, but in addressing the city’s affordable housing crisis — a crisis that is pushing out our elders and countless families that can no longer afford soaring rents and rising home prices,” said Sen. Markey in a comment to GBH News.
Gretchen Van Ness, executive director of LGBTQ Senior Housing Inc., one of the groups behind The Pryde, expressed gratitude for the support.
“We are thrilled with the support that we have received from Senator Markey and Senator Warren's offices. They're just amazing,” Van Ness told GBH News. “We worked with them diligently and put together a proposal that would help support programing and services at The Pryde.”
Affordable senior housing is a critical need in Massachusetts. By 2030, one in every five people in Massachusetts will be age 60 or older. And LGBTQ+ elders have additional difficulties securing housing. According to advocates, almost half of same-sex couples who apply for elder housing have faced discrimination in the process.
The majority of Americans approve laws that protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, housing and communal spaces.
“We know that people across the country support the LGBTQ community and support affordable housing for seniors,” said Van Ness. “That’s reflected in the Senate. The House is not doing what people want.”