LGBTQ Seniors Become Part of Battle Over Little Italy Garden

Elizabeth Street Garden (Screen shot via Google Maps)

The city is looking to turn the Elizabeth Street Garden in Manhattan’s Little Italy into an affordable housing site, much to the dismay of residents who want to preserve the community-run garden. Now “a new constituency has joined the long-running battle” over the green space, writes Sarah Ferguson in Gay City News – gay seniors.

(…) New plans for the site unveiled two weeks ago described the proposed 121-unit residence as affordable, “LGBTQ-friendly” senior housing.

SAGE — or Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, the nation’s largest and oldest advocacy group for queer elders — would provide on-site services for residents in the proposed complex, as would the housing group Habitat for Humanity, which would move its New York City headquarters there.

The de Blasio administration clearly hopes the participation of the two groups — along with a pledge to preserve about one-third of the site as green space — will tip public opinion in favor of the proposed Haven Green development.

Public officials held opposing rallies last month. On Dec. 11, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, and local representatives state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, stood alongside nonprofits in calling to preserve the garden. The following day, local Council member Margaret Chin rallied in support of the city project: “We have an opportunity before us to do the right thing for our seniors…” Gay activist Jim Fouratt and nonprofits including Vision Urbana, which serves mostly low-income Latino seniors in the area, joined Chin.

Go to Gay City News to find out which official will actually get to vote on the project and for more on why supporters of the garden oppose it, with one calling the proposal to move the open space “a sham.”

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