(Chicago) – Heartland Housing and Center on Halsted today joined with Lakeview residents and elected officials to break ground on the region’s first LGBTQ-friendly, affordable senior housing development.
“Seniors should not have to give up their friends and way of life because they’ve been priced out of the neighborhood,” said Michael Goldberg, Executive Director of Heartland Housing, a division of Heartland Alliance, the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest. “Our city is stronger when everyone has a safe place to call home, regardless of their age or income level.”
The 79-unit, $26 million development will preserve a portion of the historic 23rd district Town Hall police station while creating a new building with residential and commercial space. The units will be available to any senior in need of affordable housing, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Lakeview has a proud history of breaking down barriers of prejudice and building up understanding and compassion. Today we continue that commitment to create a community where everyone is welcome, safe, and valued,” said Modesto Tico Valle, CEO of Center on Halsted.
The early morning groundbreaking event also served as an informal kickoff to Gay Pride Month.
“This is historic for the city of Chicago and the entire Midwest,” said Alderman Tom Tunney. “This facility will be one of the first in the nation and it is dedicated to meeting the needs of the LGBTQ community. This will be a destination where our seniors can have a safe and accepting environment to live their lives with pride and confidence.”
Center on Halsted, located adjacent to the development site, will offer resident- and community-based services for seniors who will live in the building, as well as expand its existing Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elderly program.
Once completed, Heartland Housing will manage the property. Heartland currently manages 11 affordable housing buildings throughout the city.
To address the need for affordable housing for the LGBTQ community, the City of Chicago selected Heartland Housing and Center on Halsted to develop the site in February 2012. In March 2013, the Chicago City Council transferred the land over to the Center and Heartland. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Because all units are subsidized, rent will be no more than 30% of a given resident’s income.
“Seniors are a key component of the City’s affordable housing agenda and this facility will provide important resources for the ones that live in lake view,” said Commissioner Andrew Mooney, Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.
The as-yet unnamed development is one of the first of its kind in the Midwest. Other LGBTQ-friendly housing developments have been created in California and Philadelphia, and more are in development throughout the country.
“From its commitment to seniors in our LGBTQ community to its focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly design, this project represents the best of what the Lakeview neighborhood is all about,” said Congressman Mike Quigley, an early supporter of the project. “I’m proud to have a facility like this in our district and am grateful to Heartland Housing and Center on Halsted for their hard work making this dream come true for seniors in the area.”
The facility will consist of 30 studio and 49 one-bedroom apartments (79 units total). In addition, the building will have 4,450 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 20 covered car parking spaces, and dedicated parking spaces for bicycles.
Building amenities include:
• Private bathrooms with grab bars
• Private kitchens with ENERGY STAR appliances
• Secured building features, including security cameras, secure common hallways and entrances, electronic fob access controls, an intercom system, and on-site property management
• High-speed Internet through hard-wired connection
• Fitness center and community room
• Individually controlled heating and cooling in each unit
• On-site laundry facilities
• Rooftop terrace overlooking Halsted Street
Center on Halsted and Heartland Housing leveraged Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the City of Chicago HOME Investment Partnerships Program, equity from the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit, Historic Tax Credit and an Energy Efficiency Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Chicago Housing Authority is also providing 79 project-based vouchers, which will enable those with even the lowest of incomes to afford to live in the building.
The project enjoys generous support from Citi Community Capital, the National Equity Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, the Illinois Department of Human Services, LISC Chicago, and BMO Harris.
“Citi celebrates the diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods and we are pleased to provide the construction financing for innovative developments like this one,” said Mark Risch, Director at Citi Community Capital. “We will continue to focus on helping to improve neighborhoods in and around Chicago by providing the needed capital to fund these important projects.”
Several green-building strategies will be employed such as the use of green roofs; white roofs; low-flow faucets, toilets and showers; low-energy fluorescent and LED lighting with automatic dimming in the common areas; and materials that are low-emitting, regional, and have high recycled content.
Center on Halsted and Heartland Housing believe the property will achieve USGBC LEED NC Silver certification upon completion. The development was designed by Gensler and is being built by Power Construction, LLC.
On Thursday, the Town Hall police station will be introduced to the Chicago Landmarks Commission to be designated as a Chicago landmark. According to the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, the Town Hall Police Station “is significant as a finely designed Classical Revival style police station. Distinguished by its symmetrical façade arrangement, classically inspired ornament, and distinctive copper cornice, this well-preserved police station exemplifies the influence of Classicism on the architecture of government and public buildings in Chicago in the early twentieth century.”
The Town Hall police station was built in 1907.
Heartland Alliance is the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest and believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for more than one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our policy efforts strengthen communities; our comprehensive services empower those we serve to rebuild and transform their lives. For more information, visit: www.heartlandalliance.org.
Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to building and strengthening the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood. For more information, visit: www.centeronhalsted.org.