Contacts: Man Yee Lee (IHDA)

(312) 836-5234 or

Katrina Van Valkenburgh (CSH)

(312) 332-6690 x14 or

Phyllis Thistlewood  (Massac County Mental Health)

Home of Superman Celebrates Super Housing

Model Program Brings Hope & Justice to Homeless

(METROPOLIS, IL, July 23, 2008) The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) have joined local officials and community leaders for a ground breaking ceremony kicking-off

construction of new apartments designed to help the homeless.

Haven House Apartments, sponsored by Light the Way, Inc and Massac

County Mental Health, will be located at the corner of Pearl and West 8th Sts

in Metropolis near the Superman statute (Marvel Comics has designated

Metropolis the official home of Superman), and will offer 14 homes to people

who have struggled with homelessness and the challenges of disabilities. The

apartments are adjacent to a local grocery store and within walking distance to

a pharmacy, downtown shopping, a mental health center, and public parks.

“Haven House Apartments is supportive housing - affordable homes that offer the care and services people need to live independently,” said Katrina Van Valkenburgh, Director of CSH Illinois and Indiana Program. “This project marks a big step forward in our efforts to end homelessness in this region.”

Haven House will provide the first ever supportive housing units in Metropolis and Massac County and will accommodate both individuals and families with its one, two and three bedroom apartments. Several of the units will be adaptable and accessible for persons with physical disabilities.

Monthly rents will range from $309 to $462, depending on the size of the unit and the tenant’s income. Eligible tenants must earn at or below 50 percent of the area median income. In Massac County, the income limit is $18,250 for a single household, or $26,100 for a family of four.

Massac County Mental Health will provide residents with important supportive services that will include case management, crisis intervention, and life-skills education.

"With the help of CSH staff, a concept and then working plans were developed to get the project off the ground,” said Phyllis Thistlewood of Light the Way. “CSH has remained accessible throughout and with much assistance from IHDA, funding was made available. Our dreams of helping mentally ill persons thrive independently in housing with supportive services in the county where they have lived is finally a reality."

“The Illinois Division of Mental Health is excited that Massac County Mental Health and Light the Way, Inc. participated in the Illinois Supportive Housing Institute and are developing Haven


House Apartments.” said Lindsay Huth, Statewide Housing Coordinator of the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health. “DMH has recently created a housing policy that promotes the development of units of permanent supportive housing for persons with serious mental illness throughout the state of Illinois.”

Haven House is a direct outgrowth of the Illinois Supportive Housing Institute, a technical assistance and training program developed by CSH and funded by IHDA.

When launched in late 2006, both CSH and IHDA said the Institute's emphasis on technical assistance, pre-development funds, and how to build and manage supportive housing would create homes for homeless families and individuals throughout Illinois. IHDA awarded a $750,000 grant from the State's Affordable Housing Trust Fund to CSH to set up the Institute and to train 16 to 20 non-profit organizations to become supportive housing developers. Two classes of the Institute have graduated thus far with a third session scheduled to begin in January 2009. Light the Way and Massac County Mental Health were among the first groups that finished Institute training. Haven House is one of many projects in the pipeline in Southern Illinois.

“Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich and IHDA are extremely proud to have financed both the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Institute and the first housing development to come out of the Institute – Haven House,” said DeShana L. Forney, executive director, Illinois Housing Development Authority. “In Massac County, there is a very real need for affordable supportive housing to address the needs of people living with mental illness and other special needs. The supportive services will play a crucial role in helping tenants rebuild their lives and become positive contributors to the community.”

According to CSH and IHDA, Haven House enjoys tremendous support within the community and is grounded in a partnership between the two non-profits - Light the Way and Massac County Mental Health - and Don Yost Development Company, a for-profit housing developer in Southern Illinois. Light the Way is the official owner.

Sponsors indicate the overall cost to build Haven House is $2.5 million.

IHDA is the conduit for financing, having provided a $1.47 million interest-free loan from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund and another $1 million interest-free loan using federal HOME funds.

CSH provided technical assistance, a capacity-building grant and a $50,000, zero-percent interest project initiation loan to assist the sponsor in developing this project.

Haven House complements the Illinois Division of Mental Health Permanent Supportive Housing Policy, which CSH has been a partner in crafting and implementing.

CSH is a nonprofit too, with a national reach and presence and offices in Illinois and throughout the rest of the United States. For more information on CSH and supportive housing, visit


SOURCE: The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)