BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials on eastern Long Island are announcing plans for the metropolitan area’s first affordable housing development for senior lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender residents.

The Long Island GLBT Services Network says the 50-unit development is planned for a site in Bay Shore. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other community leaders are supporting the project.

The group’s executive director, David Kilmnick, said construction should begin next year with occupancy in 2016.

The project also includes a 6,000-square-foot LGBT community center.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, today’s gay seniors grew up at a time when discrimination and hostility were allowed and often encouraged.

“And many of those folks who they grew up with are now the ones in retirement and other senior living facilities,” Kilmnick said.

Kilmnick said that’s enough to force them back into the closet.

“And no one should have to do that,” he said.

Applicants will have to meet federal affordable housing qualifications. Kilmnick said straight applicants also are welcome.

The project is a partnership between the GLBT Network and a private developer.

The development would be the fifth in the country and the first in the New York tri-state area.

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