Housing facility aids low-income, elderly

March 16, 2008 10:56:11 AM PDT
For 25 years, H.O.M.E. - Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly, a not for profit agency, has been helping seniors remain independent.It's a program that is in demand.

H.O.M.E. is committed to keeping Chicago's low-income elderly with and without disabilities in the community by offering intergenerational housing and other support services.

Nathalie Salmon house on Chicago's North Side is one of three buildings that are owned by H.O.M.E.

It is the most accessible facility that also has units for low-income families with children.

"It can be a permanent residence for them. We try and do everything we can to keep the resident here and functioning as independently as they possibly can," said Paul Dean, executive director of H.O.M.E.

"For most of our programs, you need to be 62 or older, have an income for an individual of $10,000 or less and assets of $4,000 or less. That sounds very restrictive but? surveys show there are upwards of 75,000 seniors living in the city of Chicago that qualify for these services. If you're disabled a senior can be 55 or older," said Dean.

Housing is critical for everyone.

"Our founders 25 years ago saw this problem coming and that's why they developed this model of intergenerational housing for low income and disabled seniors and families," said Dean.

Most people living there have their own apartment.

Vincent Spotl is 74 years old and has a lung condition.

"I can only walk about a block," he said. "I use a mobile scooter and a wheelchair."

He has been living at Salmon House for five years.

"It's a great place to live. It's clean, it's friendly, it's convenient," Spotl said.

"There are nursing assistants. There are a lot of personal assistants and people like that come into our building to help seniors with what they need," Dean said.

Seventy-year-old Ernest Roberts said he needs help. He has been living there for three years.

"I love it," he said. "We are all family here."

Living in the family unit is 32-year-old Antonio Davies. He has been here for 10 years.

"I was in a nursing home, and I met Judy the property manager, and she come to visit me in the nursing home and she seen me there and said we gotta get you out of this place," Davies said.

"This building is just a great place to live, I mean, the seniors the intergenerational that was a great concept," Dean said.

There is a waiting list to get into H.O.M.E.'s building, Dean says they are working to get more.

"Not only low income seniors but for disabled seniors," he said.

In addition to housing, H.O.M.E. also helps with moving and furniture. For more information visit www.homeseniors.org or call 773.921.3200

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