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    Living at 55 Laguna


    By Michelle Alcedo

    So, here’s the deal. Securing an affordable housing unit in San Francisco is highly competitive, because the selection process is done by lottery. Far more people will apply to live at 55 Laguna than we’ll have units. You therefore need to play to win! 55 Laguna will be warm, welcoming, and historic for our city. Engage your faith communities, your social and professional networks, and every LGBT senior who might be interested. If you know any caregivers, push them to find out about 55 Laguna. Tell your friends to get on the Openhouse mailing list for our monthly newsletter and housing e-blasts. You can sign up at our website:

    What are the details?

    Eligibility to live at 55 Laguna or other affordable housing programs is based on income and, in the case of senior housing, your age. 55 Laguna is part of San Francisco’s affordable housing program. The units will be a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments.

    As affordable senior housing, the rents will be $800–$900 per month. For this first building, you must be at least 55 years old with an income no more than 50% of the area median income (AMI). For more details about income limits, visit the Mayor’s Office on Housing and Community Development website at

    laguna2What else?

    Come to an Openhouse housing workshop! We offer housing workshops three times a month and a housing resource group every last Monday. Call our Information and Assistance Specialist, Manuel Martinez at (415) 347-8509 to reserve your seat at one of our upcoming workshops on May 4, 8 or 15. Manuel will walk you through the affordable-housing process and you can also meet with him one-on-one after the workshop to discuss your specific needs.

    What should people be doing now?

    People who receive our newsletter and e-blasts stay informed about the ins and outs of affordable housing in the city and will be notified as soon as applications are available for 55 Laguna. We also send out information about other affordable senior housing opportunities. Remember: you can’t expect to win the lottery the first time, but playing increases your chances of winning!

    laguna3Building for the Future

    Over the next decade, we want to know that we can turn to an expanded Openhouse for reliable information to connect us with providers who are right for us, who understand our lives and who respect our families. We are planning for the following:

    • A great hall for parties, dances, community gatherings, and public receptions
    • A training center for Openhouse volunteers, including hundreds who would offer emotional and practical support to sustain independent living in the community
    • Designated activity areas, including a multi-media art room and an exercise space also designed for yoga, dance and meditation
    • Space for more evening programs and the life enriching, cultural and social activities many of us are looking for today
    • Resource rooms for health and wellness clinics, housing workshops, and community services
    • Staff offices, private consultation areas, and a multi-purpose conference room

      The Openhouse expansion plan also includes:

    • Launching a new information and assistance program so that whenever we need help with an aging-related challenge—either for ourselves or for someone we care for—our first call will be to Openhouse
    • Offering a broader range of programs so that more of us—at all levels of income and cross-sections of identity—feel engaged with our communities of choice
    • Building and strengthening a network of professionals and volunteers to help ensure our independence while keeping us connected to community
    • Providing more services led and facilitated by peers, who are often the best sources for emotional support and practical assistance

    By expanding its programs, Openhouse is prepared to support LGBT older adults at all income levels to access the critical services and rich variety of activities that will help us to live well and stay in our homes. We want to live independently in our homes and communities for many years to come. We want to know that the caregivers we bring into our lives are dependable and will honor our partners and families of choice. We all want strong social networks and a community-based resource we can rely on. That resource is Openhouse.

    Michelle Alcedo is the Director of Programs at Openhouse.