Affordable housing for the disabled

Earlier this year, a 51-unit affordable apartment complex opened in Chicago's Lakeview community. It cost $13-million to build and is intended for low-income people with mental illness and physical disabilities, who may be at risk for homelessness.
April 13, 2014 7:00:43 AM PDT
Earlier this year, a 51-unit affordable apartment complex opened in Chicago's Lakeview community. It cost $13-million to build and is intended for low-income people with mental illness and physical disabilities, who may be at risk for homelessness.

Fred and Pamela Buffett Place is staffed around the clock by Threshold, Chicago's largest mental health agency.

CEO Mark Ishaug says it's an ideal place for certain people to live.

"People with mental illness or substance abuse or HIV or other physical disabilities are able to live in this apartment complex. . . People who qualify based on income and disability are able to get in," he said.

The newly rehabbed building is bright and sunny, and designed to be a place one could call home.

"Residents pay a portion of their income according to federal guideline. But if people do not have income, we hope that we're going to help people get back in school, get jobs and have income. The challenge is there s a really long waiting list. This is rental unit but people can choose to live here as long as they want. This is not a transitional housing," said Ishaug.

Prior to moving into Buffet Place, Robert Rohdenburg was often homeless.

"I was one of the last people to leave the Chateau Hotel which is a hotel that shut down for major rehab. Then I moved in with a friend of mine for a while and then the last month and half or so I had been living at the Cornerstone Homeless Shelter in Uptown. I've been on the cha waiting list for quite some time," he said.

For others, like Jesus Campuzano, this is a first home.

"I suffer with severe depression and what gets me through the day is this lovely apartment when I have the sunlight wake me up in the morning," he said. "I'm as happy as I can be right now."

There are a number of supportive services and activities available at Buffett Place.


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