CareSource donates $1M toward LGBT-friendly senior living facility in Dayton

Dayton-based insurance company CareSource is donating $1 million to to United Church Homes to support the development of a senior living facility at the site of the former Longfellow School, which will also aim at being intentionally welcoming to the LGBT community.

The Longfellow Commons Community will be the first of its kind in Dayton and the fourth in the nation aimed at welcoming individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, or asexual, along with allies of the LGBT community.

“Providing opportunities to live your best life is important to CareSource,” said Erhardt Preitauer, president and CEO of CareSource. “We hope this financial support enables United Church Homes to positively enrich the lives of both the LGBTQA+ community as well as the neighborhood where it is being developed.”

The senior living facility will include 126 units for those 55 years old and older in a residential community. The project will include the redevelopment of the former Longfellow School on Salem Avenue and ultimately comprise a new apartment building and shared community spaces on its campus, which is over two acres.

The Longfellow School was located at 245 Salem Ave. in Dayton’s historic Grafton Hill neighborhood until its closure in 2017. The campus was purchased in 2020 by The G.F. Bailey Company and Weyland Ventures, and the project has received federally funded and competitive Historic Tax Credit approval.

“Equity and inclusiveness are very important to CareSource and is reflected internally by the LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group, and externally through support of Pride events and projects like the Longfellow Commons community,” said Dirk Kreutzer, senior manager of Product Lifecycle and Operations and chair of the PLUS Employee Resource Group at CareSource. “Ensuring historically marginalized populations, like the LGBT community, are treated with compassion and parity; to that end, creating a place for people to be their authentic self both internally and in the community made this project a great fit for CareSource.”

United Church Homes, based in Marion, which owns and manages more than 80 retirement communities in 14 states and two Native American nations, will serve as the senior living partner in the project.

“We consider it an honor to partner with CareSource who shares our passion for this unique project and has come alongside in support with meaningful resources to help make it a reality,” said Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and chief executive officer for United Church Homes. “This project will have wide-ranging appeal to older adults in the Dayton area and beyond who desire to live in an intentionally inclusive, safe and welcoming community.”

Approximately 48% of LGBT couples experience adverse treatment when seeking senior housing, according to United Church Homes, and those community members are more likely to experience negative physical and mental health challenges than heterosexual people.

“Discrimination of LGBTQ+ is a national issue, particularly in the areas for healthcare, housing and employment,” Kreutzer said. Kreutzer cited examples of the adverse treatment LGBT individuals face when seeking out a senior living facility, including 24% of LGBT Americans saying they had been blamed for their health problems, compared to 9% of non-LGBT individuals, according to a poll done by 19th News.

“For LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming people, or those who said their gender was not male or female in addition to being LGBTQ+, that number jumped to 40%,” Kreutzer said. “The wrap around services that are a part of the Longfellow Commons approach would help address those issues.”

The Longfellow Commons Community will offer residents services and programs targeted at health and wellness, such as service coordination to help connect with providers, resources and transportation, fitness classes, social events, and pet walking.

CareSource has given a few notable donations to local and national organizations, including to Dayton Children’s Hospital and Easterseals. The CareSource Foundation funds programs targeted at improving health outcomes and conditions for low-income, underserved populations. The foundation is especially interested in pilots and partnerships with local and national nonprofits that align with its areas of focus and foster learning and/or innovation, according to CareSource.

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