Tuesday, Sept. 28


Blagojevich gives go-ahead to expand Supportive Living Facility Program

Action paves way for construction of 3,000 new units

Supportive living facilities give seniors, disabled more freedom and offer
less-costly option to nursing homes      
Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 28, 2004]  BENTON -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday gave the green light to an expansion of the state's Supportive Living Facility Program, an innovative, affordable assisted-living model that provides a popular and cost-effective alternative to nursing home care for seniors and the disabled.

"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 this article]

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 facilities.

"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 Illinois."

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.

For more information on the program, including the location of operational and approved facilities throughout the state, visit www.slfillinois.com. The program application for providers is also available on that site.

[News release from the governor's office]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor