Governor Pat Quinn was joined yesterday at the Maple Point Apartments in Chicago by representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to announce an $11.98 million award that will strengthen Illinois’ efforts to allow people with disabilities to live independently in the community of their choice.
The award will make up to 825 apartments affordable for people who have special needs, and are in financial need, across the state. HUD officials awarded the grant under the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.
“Investing in people is the most important thing we can do,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “We’re committed to making sure all our citizens – regardless of the challenges they face - have the opportunity to reach their full potential. These resources will not only help us provide a home for people who need one, but also the skills training, counseling and services they need to become productive members of their communities.”
Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Illinois has made historic progress to rebalance its housing and care for people with disabilities, moving away from an overreliance on outdated institutions and moving towards a community-based care model. The governor closed two institutions in the last two years and invested more resources into housing and community services.
The state has also committed significant resources to building permanent supportive housing units. However, many persons with special needs still cannot access housing because their only source of income, Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, is not enough for most affordable rental housing. Housing only becomes accessible to people with disabilities who are low-income when rental subsidies are provided. The HUD award announced today bridges the gap between the required rental amount and what extremely low-income tenants can pay.
“Two federal agencies are working together to solve real problems and offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets,” HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones said. “Governor Quinn and our Illinois partners will use this money to help reduce health care costs, and improve quality of life for more than 800 persons with disabilities."
HUD hosted a competitive application process for the Section 811 awards and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the state’s housing finance agency, received the third-largest award in the country.
“Through a combination of local, state, and federal efforts, Illinois is providing vital supportive services to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. The federal funding announced today will give low-income Illinoisans with disabilities real options for affordable, accessible community-based living. I commend Governor Quinn and the Illinois Housing Development Authority for putting together such a strong application for this important competitive grant.”
IHDA will award the rental subsidy to owners of eligible properties via one or more competitive application rounds. Each rental subsidy awarded will have an initial term of five years with renewals for up to 20 years. The State Referral Network will link potential tenants to participating property owners. To qualify, potential tenants must be extremely low income, which is defined as making up to 30 percent of the median income for the area – or $15,480 in the Chicago area or $14,130 in Springfield, for a one-person household.
According to a news report from Northwestern University's Medill Reports Chicago newspaper, Mary R. Kenney, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, said, “Illinois can continue to eliminate barriers to safe and decent housing opportunities for our most vulnerable residents and help them access the resources and skills that will improve their quality of life.”
“Governor Quinn has recognized the need to create more community-based housing opportunities for people with special needs and he has dedicated significant resources to meeting that need,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Thanks to this new federal resource, Illinois can continue to eliminate barriers to safe and decent housing opportunities for our most vulnerable residents and help them access the resources and skills that will improve their quality of life.”
Medill Chicago Reports added that HUD deputy secretary Maurice Jones praised the Illinois application and that their program is looking to solve "real problems and offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets.”
Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, $94 million was committed to the creation of 525 units of supportive housing in 2012. This investment added to $36 million invested in 2011 for 193 units. Also in 2012, Governor Quinn signed a new law to enable landlords providing supportive housing units to apply for rental subsidy under the state’s Rental Housing Support Program. The program is funded through a $10 fee collected from real estate document recordings.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.