News Column

State-Funded Supportive Housing Development Opens in Herrin

June 26, 2014



HERRIN, Ill., June 26 -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority issued the following news release:

A new supportive housing development in Herrin, Illinois has opened its doors - as well as opportunities - for eight people with special needs, bringing them hope of a stable future and a chance at rebuilding their lives.

Today, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) representatives joined Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless (SICH) and other public-private partners to celebrate the opening of Phoenix Apartments. On behalf of Governor Pat Quinn, IHDA invested $1.6 million from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund to build the development. The project also received a $22,000 energy-efficiency grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and a Federal Home Loan Bank grant of $99,200 obtained through the Bank of Marion.

"The Phoenix Apartments builds on Governor Quinn's commitment to improve the lives of people with special needs," IHDA Executive Director, Mary Kenney said. "Since 2009, IHDA has financed more than 2,235 units of new permanent supportive housing across the state. Governor Quinn is also the first leader in Illinois history to dedicate capital funds to the creation of affordable housing, including permanent supportive housing."

Supportive housing developments such as Phoenix Apartments provides residents with more than just a roof over their heads. They also provide residents with crucial supportive services to help them overcome their struggles and get back on their feet. When residents are given access to the tools needed to help them become self-sufficient it greatly improves their chances of becoming positive contributing citizens again.

"Demand for these units has been strong," said Sharon Hess, Executive Director of SICH, the Marionbased not-for-profit agency that developed Phoenix Apartments. "Two of the eight units have been occupied by veterans who have served our country loyally and now need help to get their lives back on track. I am proud to say that this community is helping these residents in their time of need. We all need help at some time in our lives."

Phoenix Apartments features eight newly constructed one-bedroom apartments that provide the stability for residents to focus on overcoming their personal battles. The supportive services include on-site intense counseling and job training to help residents re-enter the job market to regain self-sufficiency. Residents also meet weekly with their case managers to ensure goals are being attained and are offered skill-building training such as cooking, gardening and disaster response education to help them regain their independence. Services are provided, in part, by SICH's local partner, The "H" Group. All residents go through a strict screening process and must already be receiving treatment.

Affordable housing also helps support the local economy. Phoenix Apartments created 21 construction jobs for the community. Additionally, permanent supportive housing in particular helps create savings for the state. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the cost of providing someone with supportive housing in the community is $37,000 less a year than the cost of housing that person in a nursing home or institution. That's a 72.4% reduction in costs and a significant savings for the state.

For more information about leasing at Phoenix Apartments contact the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless at 618-993-0094.

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