Published on March 4th, 2012 | by Wild Gender1
For Our Queer Elders: First Full Time LGBT Senior Center
NEW YORK — The first ever full-time LGBTQ senior center opened its doors last week to a welcome crowd in Chelsea. The $3 million facility, dubbed SAGE (Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) after the organization that is its namesake, hopes ensure that LGBT elders receive affirming health services and community support.
“Words can’t express what having a place like this is. Because most seniors do not want to go to regular senior centers and so this is just wonderful,” ceremony attendee Betty Weems told NY1.com.
The SAGE Center will serve as a full-time, citywide center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults across New York City, providing a comprehensive array of innovative services and holistic programs related to arts and culture, fitness, food and nutrition, health and wellness and lifelong education. Established through an innovative senior center initiative led by New York City’s Department for the Aging, the SAGE Center seeks to ensure that LGBT older adults in all five boroughs can age in good health, financially secure and with broad community support—as well as continue to serve as educators and leaders for our diverse communities.
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 21 local SAGE affiliates in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
The center is located at 305 Seventh Ave. at a site owned by SAGE. The agency won a commitment of $3 million from the City Council to help buy and renovate the space. Work began in 2009, after raising additional funds from foundations and individuals.