In Illinois, there are 30,500 people with developmental disabilities over the age of 40, living with caregivers over the age of 60. This is more than all the current state-funded living arrangements including large, congregate living facilities (institutions) and community-based living arrangements (CILAS) in Illinois.
There is no plan for accommodating these people as their caregivers start needing care themselves. The Arc, with support from the Community Needs Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, is helping families in Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties.
The Arc is developing the Northern Illinois Trust for Community Housing (NITCH) to create a pooled, charitable housing trust that can hold homes for lifetime use by people with disabilities, and then preserve those homes for future use by others with disabilities, thereby creating a permanent stock of affordable, safe, decent, community-based housing for people with disabilities.
This is a way for families to ensure their relative with a disability has safe and secure housing and a way for our communities to provide safe and secure housing for citizens with disabilities.
NITCH can help families and individuals with disabilities to:
Create a plan to preserve the home a person with a disability currently owns or rents.
Create a plan to find and secure decent, safe, affordable housing that can be permanent housing for a person with a disability. This might mean creating a plan for the person with a disability, or a family member or NITCH to purchase a homeeither an existing home or a home that will be built to meet the needs of the person with a disability.
Create a plan for long-term management and preservation to help homeowners with disabilities ensure they can stay in their homes for their lifetimes, and then preserve those homes for use by future generations of people with disabilities who need affordable housing.
The first public seminar is Thursday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Arc of Winnebago, Boone & Ogle Counties, 400 N. First St., Rockford, IL 61107. Presenter is Lisa Mills, Ph.D., executive director of WISH (Wisconsin Initiatives in Sustainable Housing). Admission is free, but RSVP to (815) 965-3455 as seating is limited.
From the April 19-25, 2006, issue