Mayor Richard M. Daley today officially opened a new development in the city's Auburn Gresham community that provides 85 units of affordable housing for senior citizens and a city-operated senior services center in the same location.
"This development demonstrates the city's strong commitment both to helping senior citizens enjoy a high quality of life and creating community anchors that keep our neighborhoods strong," Daley said in remarks delivered at the Auburn Gresham Senior Suites, 1050 W. 79th St.
"All of us in city government - but particularly our Department of Senior Services and our Department of Housing -- work hard every day of the year to make sure Chicago is the kind of city seniors want to live in. It's important for us to keep seniors here, so they can continue contributing to the fabric of the city and remain near to their friends, family members and places of worship," he said.
Auburn Gresham Senior Suites was constructed in partnership with Senior Lifestyle Corporation and the Beloved Community, a community development partner of the Faith Community of St. Sabina. To build the project, the City invested $3.6 million in loans, the Illinois Housing Development Authority provided $750,000 from its Trust Fund and $1,036,823 in tax credits, generating more than $9.5 million in equity for the project. In addition, Harris Bank provided a loan of $1.4 million.
Through the Chicago Housing Authority, 17 of the units will be made available to seniors with housing choice vouchers, which make it possible for low income seniors to find quality, affordable housing. And the city's Department of Senior Services will operate a service center in the building.
The building includes 25 studio and 60 one-bedroom apartments, complete with bathroom and kitchen facilities, at initial monthly rents from $424 to $750. Sizes range from 430 to 550 square feet. The apartments in the six-story building are available to seniors, 62 or older, whose incomes meet federal guidelines.
"Seniors often face health or lifestyle challenges that require changes in their living situations," Daley said.
"We are committed to helping them meet those challenges by providing affordable and accessible housing and ensuring that they have an opportunity to enjoy a comfortable, secure living environment.
"The commitment extends not only to investing in new development, but also to preserving existing senior housing and expanding programs that enable seniors to continue to live in the neighborhoods to which they have contributed so much for so many years," he said.
In 2006, the city announced a new senior housing plan that will produce 4,000 new units of affordable senior housing by 2010 by aggressively pursuing available resources and working closely with public and private sector partners. To date, more than 2,100 units of that 4,000-unit total have been built.
Since 1989, city investments in senior housing have helped create 6,685 units for seniors - development that has helped improve the lives of the residents and strengthen the character of the surrounding neighborhoods, Daley said.
"This building fills an important need for senior Chicagoans who no longer want the responsibility for maintaining their own residence, but want to keep their independence and have a need for enhanced social support," the Mayor said.
"It will provide the comforts of a home - like atmosphere combined with the support services and programs that will give residents the confidence and independence to enjoy life to the fullest," he said.
The center will offer fitness and computer classes, Internet access, health assessments, a library and meeting space and events for neighborhood seniors.
"Of course, government alone cannot provide all the services that all our residents need. That's why partnerships of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors -- such as the one responsible for this center - are so important," Daley said.
"The Senior Suites of Auburn Gresham is another great example that shows that Chicago is a place where government, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector and faith-based institutions can work together to improve the quality of life for all our residents.
"The energy and cooperation that have gone into creating this center serve as a great model for all our undertakings in Chicago," he said.