QUEER VOICES
03/07/2013 05:41 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Chicago's Edgewater Hospital May Become LGBT Senior Housing

The elderly are often forgotten about, but there may soon be a place of commemoration and refuge in the windy city.

As DNA Info is reporting, Chicago’s relinquished Edgewater Hospital could possibly be transformed into a hub for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors if all goes according to plan.

The idea originated with graduate design student Vea Cleary, who proposed turning the city's abandoned Edgewater Hospital into a gym, health center, assisted living, affordable housing for seniors. In 2001, the eight-story hospital was shut down due to Medicare and Medicaid fraud, FBI documents indicate.

“There’s a lot of power in reclaiming space," Cleary, who is currently editing the draft of her plan after receiving feedback, said. “My hope is that it would be something that honors the history and not just wipe it out.”

Heartland Alliance is also planning to renovate a former police station in Lakeview, turning it into LGBT senior housing. Cleary’s plan mirrors that and the groundbreaking LGBT senior developments in Philadelphia, which has been hailed as the first to build gay-friendly affordable housing financed entirely with public money.

Meanwhile, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, a pediatric teaching hospital for Northwestern University's medical school, announced it would launch the first gender identity clinic focusing on transgender and gender-variant youth ages 13 and younger in the Windy City later this year, according to reports.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified the LGBT senior developments in Philadelphia as the first gay-friendly affordable housing units. Triangle Square-Hollywood in Los Angeles was actually the first, though the project in Philadelphia is the first to do so using only public money.

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