CHICAGO – A new $1 million grant from a Maryland foundation will help the State of Illinois build on efforts to ensure more extremely low-income people with disabilities can live independently in deeply-affordable, community-based rental housing. As the state’s housing finance agency under Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) will apply the funding and lower rents for people with special needs for up to 10 units in existing developments for up to 30 years.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, based in Owings Mills, Md., awarded the grant to IHDA to create more permanent supportive housing opportunities for people with disabilities. Rents for up to 10 targeted units will be written down from 60 percent of the area median income to 20 percent, or $10,320 for a one-person household in the Chicago area.
IHDA is reviewing its portfolio of rental properties to determine where the Weinberg Foundation grant will have the most immediate impact. Tenants will be chosen through the State Referral Network.
“Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Illinois has made significant progress to increase community-based housing opportunities for people with disabilities,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “This generous grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation will help improve the quality of life for more people with disabilities by making it possible for them to rent safe and affordable housing that provides access to the services they need to achieve independence and be productive members of their communities.”
The state has committed substantial resources to create permanent supportive housing units. However, many of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents 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 low-income people with disabilities when rental subsidies are provided.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, and helps low-income and vulnerable individuals and families by providing grants to nonprofits that provide direct services.
“The Weinberg Foundation is proud of its partnership with the State of Illinois, reinforcing what we hope will become a national trend to provide integrated, deeply-affordable rental housing for persons with disabilities,” said Ellen Heller, Weinberg Foundation Board Chair. “The Foundation recently doubled its funding for a similar program in Maryland, for a total investment there of $2 million. These are substantial, meaningful investments in the push to provide integrated, supportive environments for persons with disabilities.”