The Housing Authority of Champaign County is reaching out 100 miles to develop an affordable senior living facility in Henry, a small community just 34 miles north of Peoria.
Called Oak Field Place, the new 30-unit, affordable senior housing facility has one- and two-bedroom units and an on-site office for social services.
According to reports from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, increasing numbers of older Americans are living with rents that are beyond their financial means or living in units that are below minimum standards.
HUD designated people paying more than half their monthly income for rent as living with “worst case” rent burdens.
HUD found that in 2015, 8.3 million households headed by seniors had “worse case” housing needs.
Temeka Couch, interim deputy with the Housing Authority of Champaign County, said her agency studied the statistics and investigated locations outside Champaign County to identify areas with limited affordable senior housing. It identified three rural communities, Henry, Ladd and Robinson, as locations in need of new senior living facilities. The first of those developments is Oak Field Place in Henry.
“We have been well received in these communities,” Couch said. “We all want to think that seniors have a safe place to live. That gives huge piece of mind to the whole family”
She said children often leave rural areas for jobs and worry about parents left behind, alone in rural areas.
The three new projects in Henry, Ladd and Robinson will total 100 apartments.
Couch said the housing authority had spent more than five years researching need in rural areas before identifying Henry, Ladd and Robinson.