"This program is all about giving
Illinoisans greater freedom to live on their own and maintain
control of decisions that affect their lives," the governor said in
a statement. "Our seniors and persons with disabilities deserve a
range of housing options and should not be faced with a stark choice
between living independently or in a nursing home."
The governor directed the Illinois
Department of Public Aid to lift a moratorium that had been in place
since Nov. 16, 2001, on accepting new provider applications for
supportive living facilities. The action will lead to the
development of an estimated 3,000 new apartments throughout the
state in the next few years. Supportive living facilities are
partially funded through a Medicaid waiver program.
The announcement was made at an event
at the recently opened Heritage Woods of Benton. Attending were
Barry S. Maram, director of the Department of Public Aid; Charles
Johnson, director of the Department on Aging; Kelly King Dibble,
executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority;
Carol Adams, secretary of the Department of Human Services; state
Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton; state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion; and
other local officials.
Maram said the Department of Public Aid
would begin accepting applications on Nov. 16 for a 60-day period.
"There is a tremendous demand for this
type of housing, plus the services offered by SLFs, to provide an
alternative to nursing homes," Maram said. "The program expansion
will be coordinated with the governor's newly appointed Illinois
Housing Task Force, which is working on creating a comprehensive
affordable-housing plan for the state. We want to ensure that future
development occurs where it is needed the most."
Maram added, "The SLF program is really
a team effort by the Blagojevich administration to provide another
great option for seniors and persons with disabilities."
Adams, of the Department of Human
Services, echoed Maram's comments, saying, "SLF is a very diverse
and excellent program. We look forward to helping bring this model
to more persons with disabilities and potentially even other
populations in the future."
Since Gov. Blagojevich took office, 22
new supportive living facilities have opened, more than doubling the
current capacity under the model.
There are currently 41 supportive
living facilities with about 3,000 units operational around the
state and 29 other previously approved sites representing 2,600
units under development. The state's Medicaid program pays for the
medical care component for about 65 percent of the residents.
Residents pay for the housing component with Social Security or
other personal funds.
[to top of second column in
The state also helps to finance
construction of supportive living facilities through the Illinois
Housing Development Authority, the state's housing finance
authority, which has been involved in the financing of 22 of these
developments in more than a dozen counties, totaling nearly $175
million. Of the $10 million project cost for Heritage Woods of
Benton, the Housing Development Authority provided $7.9 million in
direct financing and tax credits that generated an additional $1.8
million in equity.
As the state's housing finance
authority, the Illinois Housing Development Authority uses
tax-exempt bonds, federal tax credits, the Illinois Affordable
Housing Trust Fund and other resources to offer below-market-rate
financing for affordable housing, including supportive living
"We stand ready to continue to use our
resources to help finance these important properties for Illinois'
elderly and disabled populations," said Dibble, of the IHDA. "The
Illinois Housing Development Authority has worked hand-in-hand with
IDPA in its SLF program and will continue to be a major source of
financing for developers who intend to build facilities across
Johnson, of the Department on Aging,
which has been involved in screening for and marketing the program,
said, "SLF is a fine model in the constellation of service for
seniors. We are committed to programs like this that offer seniors a
choice and support their independence."
Supportive living facilities give
seniors and people with disabilities a more independent lifestyle
option by providing apartment-style living, medication supervision
and ongoing health monitoring, personal care, exercise and wellness
programs, meals, and other services. The program offers
"service-enriched housing" not previously available for
Medicaid-eligible individuals. Residents live in private apartments
with a bath and kitchenette. The program puts an emphasis on
personal choice and dignity.
An added benefit is that these
facilities make a critical range of services available at a
significantly lower cost than in a nursing home and can successfully
prevent or postpone the need for nursing home care.
The Illinois Department of Public Aid
has a certification process for all supportive living facilities.
The department imposed the moratorium on new applications in
November 2001 due to the large volume of provider applications and
the limited amount of Medicaid-funded slots available at that time.
The program is offered under a federal Medicaid Home and Community
Based Services waiver. Due to earlier actions by the Blagojevich
administration, there is now room in the waiver cap
-- up from 2,750 to 5,000 -- for this expansion.
information on the program, including the location of operational
and approved facilities throughout the state, visit
program application for providers is also available on that site.
[News release from the