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January 30, 2014

State Capital Funding Helps Create New Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
Development generated jobs, and will add ground-floor retail to help economy and give residents job skill training

CHICAGO – People with disabilities or special needs will soon move into a new quality affordable housing development in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood, where they will gain access to the supportive services and skills they need to live independently. Governor Pat Quinn’s administration invested $2.3 million in Illinois Jobs Now! state capital dollars to create 51 units of permanent supportive housing in Buffett Place, the former Diplomat Hotel, generating 150 local jobs.
On behalf of Governor Quinn, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Executive Director Mary R. Kenney today joined City of Chicago representatives and development partners to celebrate the grand opening of Buffett Place, 3208 N. Sheffield Ave. The City of Chicago also provided financing. Buffett Place continues Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities or special needs by increasing opportunities that enable them to live independently in the community of their choice.

“Governor Quinn became the first Illinois leader to dedicate state capital funds to the creation of affordable housing,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Buffett Place demonstrates his administration’s leadership to remove obstacles to safe and affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents, and to strengthen communities by increasing jobs and economic growth. Buffett Place created an estimated 150 local jobs.”

Under Governor Quinn, the State of Illinois has worked with a singular focus to bring more supportive housing to our communities and provide housing options for those in need. Work has focused on creating more units at affordable rent levels specifically designated for those in need of supportive housing and coordinating rental assistance across various levels of government. The Illinois Jobs Now! funding created the Permanent Supportive Housing Development Program, which financed Buffett Place, and provided a critical source of financing for the state to spur the development of supportive housing. Since 2009, IHDA has financed more than 2,100 units of new permanent supportive housing.

A joint project of Brinshore Development and mental health service provider Thresholds, Buffett Place is a unique addition to the Lake View neighborhood with a rooftop deck and garden. The Chicago Botanic Garden will create and maintain the rooftop garden, and teach residents how to take care of the plants. Eventually, the garden flowers may be sold in the flower shop UrbanMeadows on the ground level – which will give residents a chance to gain job skills. Buffett Place also includes a landscaped courtyard, art wall, community meeting area, and fitness area.

The 51 fully-furnished units will house individuals with special needs who are at risk of homelessness, and connect them to supportive services Thresholds offers so they can achieve stability and improve their quality of life. Services accessible to residents include medical, educational, job training and placement and community outreach.

Residents must earn 60 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), or $30,420 for one person in Chicago, to qualify for the apartments. Eight units will be fillled through the State Referral Network, which Governor Quinn created to encourage developers to target 10 percent of units as supportive housing. This network links people in need to units and ensures services are provided, where needed. All units will receive Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Section 8 vouchers.

Buffett Place retains unique historical features from the 1920s-era building, including tables, mirror frames, coat hooks and trim detail repurposed from heavy timbers in a former stairwell.

The development’s environmentally-friendly features include roof solar panels to heat water. Buffett Place earned certifications for the following: Chicago Green Homes Three Star, Enterprise Green Communities and EnergyStar.

“We are proud to be a part of such an innovative development with so many committed partners, and we look forward to providing quality affordable housing for persons with disabilities,” said Richard Sciortino, president of Brinshore Development.

Residents will begin moving into Buffett Place in February.  For more information, contact Thresholds at (773) 572-5272 or visit its website.


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