Reporting Bernie Tafoya
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MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (CBS) – A first-of-its-kind groundbreaking was held in Mount Prospect on Monday, as community leaders, developers, and other partners turned the dirt for $13 million independent living complex for the disabled and mentally ill.
Myers Place, a 39-unit complex to be built at the corner of Dempster Street and Busse Road, will offer affordable housing to people who are physically disabled, or mentally ill — but are able to live on their own.
Developers said it will be the first such housing complex in the northwest suburbs.
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Jessica Berzac vice president of Daveri Development Group said, “This is 39 unit, but this is really the beginning of a new type of housing; changing the way we treat people with disabilities in Illinois.”
Berzac said there’s a great need for this specialized kind of independent living.
“We’ll fill up like that, and there’s going to be people waiting,” she said.
The four-story building will have 21 one-bedroom units and 18 studio apartments. It will have on-site services provided by the Kenneth Young Center, including job search help and other social services.
Mitch Bruski, of the Kenneth Young Center said, “Nobody wants to live in an institution, so it’s better to live in your own place.”
Hugh Brady of the National Alliance on Mental Illness said he hopes Myers Place is the start of a “cascade of similar developments” throughout the northwest suburbs.
Brady said the Wheeling village board votes later this month on a similar plan. He said his organization and Arlington Heights are in court over Arlington Heights’ rejection of proposed housing for the disabled and mentally ill there.
Myers Place is expected to be completed in 13 months at a cost of about $13 million.
Mount Prospect Mayor Irvana Wilks said she hopes Myers Place can be a “shining example” to other municipalities.