Discovering Group Even in a Pandemic

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Finding Community Even in a Pandemic

It’s a relief to pay just $ 566 a month for his studio apartment at Stonewall House. The affordable housing development, a partnership between BFC Partners, three municipal housing agencies and SAGE, a non-profit organization for LGBTQ elders, includes 145 housing units for seniors who earn less than 50 percent of the area’s median income. It is the largest development of its kind in the country.

“I wasn’t sure how I would adapt to this place,” said Mr. Meehan. “From living with five people to you? But I am very happy here. “

Although he was hardly alone. “I live a lot on the phone,” said Mr. Meehan. “I have an enormous group of people who support me and take care of me. I spend a lot of time with Zoom conferences, I love Facebook, I live on Facebook. I am very rarely all alone. “

He’s also seen his ex-Jackson Heights roommates stopping by to help him hang pictures and put together the large desk he ordered from Wayfair. He spends most of his time in the apartment at his desk.

Opposite the desk is a fold-away bed – a gift from a friend. “It almost gives me a second room,” he said. “At night I move the chair to the side and in three minutes I have a sleeping area.”

And of course there are his new neighbors. While social activities have been restricted, there is still zoom and the sidewalk in front of the building. Mr. Meehan founded a tenants’ association with two other residents. So far, the association has secured a bus stop on the corner of the building and has convinced management to open the building’s three terraces, which have been closed all spring and summer due to the coronavirus.

“As someone who lives alone, I have my morning coffee up there and read the newspaper,” said Mr. Meehan. “Covid is a disadvantage for us – we couldn’t open the common room, but we gel well.”

“It’ll be nice when you finally see people’s faces,” he added. “Like a masquerade party.”