Rockford, IL - Dec 2, 2001 - ZION Development Corporation officially opened the Grand Apartments, Rockford’s first permanent supportive housing facility. The Grand Apartments offers 45 efficiency apartments to adult men and women who are homeless. Residents at the Grand Apartments may remain there as long asthey pay their rent and abide by their lease. Although Rockford has excellent crisis and transitional housing opportunities and a sophisticated Continuum of Care plan, the Grand Apartments provides the community with its first and only permanent supportive housing facility.The process of developing the Grand was very difficult and complex. The final development cost was $5.3 million,which included operating reserves needed to guarantee the 30 years of financially strong operations promised by ZION Development Corporation in their funding applications. Development funding came from seven different sources: The IHDA Supportive Housing Investment Program (HOME funds), the IHDA Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis Affordable Housing Program, the City of Rockford, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, and ZION Development Corporation.
The process began in 1995 with discussions with the City of Rockford on how to end the tremendous amount of criminal activity going on at the Grand Hotel (then a privately owned SRO). At that time police and other emergency services were visiting the Grand an average of two to three times per day to address crimes that ranged from murder with laser-targeted handguns to assault, theft, robbery, prostitution and drug dealing/use. The city estimated that it was spending $500,000 per year on police and fire fighter services to address that alone. With the city’s help, ZION Development Corporation bought the Grand Hotel on March 31, 1997. It took four years to assemble the funding for the total renovation of the building. Construction began on January 25, 2001 and was completed on November 23, 2001. The ribbon was cut on the “new” Grand Apartments on December 2, 2001 and the first resident moved in three weeks later. Every unit was leased by the end of January 2002.
On-site social services are offered by two Resident Services Coordinators who provide case management to all residents to help them identify aspects of their lives which may have put their housing at risk in the past and to define their own personal “pursuit of purpose” plan. The Grand Apartments also collaborates with many community serviceagencies which include: Crusader Clinic, which is located one block away and provides free medical evaluations andaffordable health care to every resident as well as supplying the employees for the Resident Services Coordinator positions, Janet Wattles Mental Health Center, Rosecrance Health Systems (addictions treatment), and Promised Land Employment Services (employment assessments and job search training). At the Grand Apartments 80% of residents arefollowing through on their service referrals, 68% have registered to vote, and 49% are working. Residents plan and execute their holiday celebrations and bingo events that include prizes they have solicited from neighboring businesses.
ZION Development Corporation owes a huge debt of gratitude to all its funders, and also to all those who provided technical assistance: Lakefront Supportive Housing which helped in the initial conceptualization of the project andconsulted on the “blended management” operations strategy, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the National Equity Fund.
The Grand is a dramatic victory for men and women in Rockford who find themselves homeless and for the community as a whole. This permanent supportive housing project solved a huge crime problem, saved a valuable building and created a new environment of hope and help for its neighbors.
About Zion DevelopmentZION Development is a nonprofit Christian community development organization formed as the result of outreach programs at Zion Lutheran Church, from which it draws vision and values. Since 1982, ZDC has been a good neighbor to thousands of people who live, work, worship and play in Midtown-seniors, people coming out of homlessness, families, employers, employees, business customers and churchgoers. Over the past 25 years, ZDC has invested more than $27 million in housing and economic development projects in the area.
For further information, please contact:Rosemary Bieck