Officials from the Chicago Housing Authority today joined residents of the ABLA/Brooks Homes, Alderman Danny Solis, Amy Rule and area residents for the dedication of the newly renovated Jane Addams Family Resource Center.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony, CHA CEO Eugene “Gene” Jones, Jr. said the newly refurbished center, at 1254 S. Loomis Street, will provide new amenities and services for the community.
“On behalf of all of us at CHA, I am pleased to be here as we cut the ribbon on the new Jane Addams Family Resource Center. Our investment in this center is another example of CHA’s commitment to expanding and improving services for residents here and across our city,” Jones said.
This new resource center offers residents access to not only a modern, clean building but also a state-of-the-art computer training room, multi-purpose room with a full service kitchen, new Local Advisory/Central Advisory Council and service provider offices and an enclosed landscaped courtyard for comfortable outdoor functions.
“I believe that the mission of the CHA is more than bricks and mortar. It’s about the people in the building. I am also focused on our youth, and this center will serve them well, with our Employability Plus program for disconnected youth interested in obtaining their GED or high school credit recovery, and we also have the programs tailored to young men and young women like Smart Girls and Young Men Unite to help build their self-esteem skills, “ Jones said.
The fully refurbished 12,000 square foot center replaces an outdated building that was more than 50 years old and will be home to CHA’s social service program, FamilyWorks which provides employment, housing case management, youth, seniors, and wellness services to residents of the community, the new facility will offer a modern and updated space for community programming for the residents. Some programs offered to residents include:
- Computer Lab programs for digital literacy, employment search, after-school homework assistance and Technology Tuesdays
- Employability Plus program for disconnected youth interested in obtaining their GED or high school credit recovery
- Gender specific youth programs to build up self-esteem skills such as Smart Girls and Young Men Unite
- Social programs for seniors
- Financial literacy groups, workshops and events for residents who are part of the Family Self-Sufficiency program
The center’s kitchen will also be home for the Summer Food site where youth up to age 18 can eat breakfast and lunch during the summer school break as well as a training and learning site for participants of CHA’s adjacent urban garden operated through Growing Power.
Another key feature of the building is that it permits the building to be used by multiple parties at the same time while providing privacy and security, a feature that was not available in the previous structure.
The center also features access to water for the adjacent Growing Power garden and meeting spaces that serve the community and an energy efficient, year-round climate control system which will allow community activities to continue on throughout the summer months without interruption.
The center is adjacent to the Roosevelt Square mixed-income community that is continuing to develop with residential, commercial and retail spaces.
Community meetings for the master planning efforts were recently conducted with the development’s working group, which provided CHA with recommendations for the remaining phases of Roosevelt Square. The Master Plan is the framework for the area and is flexible, providing new direction regarding building height, market-rate units and building density. The Master Plan also includes concepts such as a larger park south of Roosevelt Road and three community gardens.
The CHA continues to make progress on its commitment to meet the goals set out in the Plan for Transformation to rehabilitate or replace 25,000 units of housing. To date, over 22,000 units have been completed through new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation.
Today, mixed income developments like Roosevelt Square include a mix of tenants and homeowners who live side-by-side and reflect the kind of economic diversity that every sustainable community should have, from new retail to parks and community centers that enhance the lives of residents.