West Englewood apartment building rehabbed to house people with HIV/AIDS

Chicago House will offer housing to 13 families on West 63rd Street in a neighborhood with a high rate of HIV infection. The site will also contain office space for staffers overseeing residential units citywide.

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Englewood Family Homes will provide housing and services 13 families living with HIV.

Englewood Family Homes will provide housing and services for 13 families living with HIV at a newly revamped apartment building on West 63rd Street.

Peyton Reich/Sun-Times

A renovated apartment building in West Englewood opened Tuesday and will house 13 families living with HIV.

The apartment building, Englewood Family Homes, 1650 W. 63rd St., is owned by the Chicago House and Social Services Agency, which will provide housing and programming for the families.

CHICAGOHOUSE-062624-8.jpgElected officials and community members tour the new Englewood Family Homes facility, which will provide permanent support housing and services for 13 families living with HIV, at the opening of Chicago House, an organization dedicated to serving people living with HIV, on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at 1650 W. 63rd St. on the Far South Side. | Peyton Reich/Sun-Times

Elected officials and community members tour the renovated Englewood Family Homes on West 63rd Street on Tuesday. Chicago House is aiming to receive a certificate of occupancy from the city in July.

Peyton Reich/Sun-Times

The social service agency provides families assistance with housing, employment and health, including career exploration and skills development and free rapid HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis-C screenings.

Chicago House aims to play a role in eliminating the spread of new HIV infections and providing housing for those who are in need. The organization’s mission is to empower persons living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDs to lead healthy and dignified lives through housing and cilent-centered support services.

The agency also helps LGBTQ+, poor, and unhoused people not only with housing but also health, employment and a TransLife Care Program.

The project has been in the works since the fall of 2019 and was made possible with funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Chicago Department of Housing and the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation. Ongoing support for the project will be provided by the Chicago Housing Authority and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

The group rehabbed the housing units, creating nine two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units. Each unit will have a kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room.

CHICAGOHOUSE-062624Family Unit at the Englewood Family Homes, a facility offering permanent supportive housing and services for 13 families living with HIV, is seen on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at 1650 W. 63rd St. on the Far South Side. Photo by Peyton Reich/Sun-Times-11.jpg

Chicago House created nine two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units, each with a kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room.

Peyton Reich/Sun-Times

Office space in the building will also serve a team that manages nearly 500 residential spaces for people living with HIV and experiencing homelessness.

The basement will be used for community activities, and the fenced-in backyard has playground equipment for children.

The Englewood community continues to see high rates of HIV infection and new cases per year compared with the city’s overall average.

Howard Brown Health is treating 1,262 people living with HIV at its Englewood location, said Wren O’Kelley associate director of communications.

Englewood Family Homes will serve as one of the many resources for residents seeking to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS and to help those who have been infected.

“Englewood Family Homes will serve as a center for the community to access key supports, including employment services, links to other housing projects, HIV testing, and more. But beyond this, it will also be a stable, supportive home for 13 families. We are extremely grateful to all of our partners, donors and staff who worked tirelessly to bring this crucial care to Englewood,” said Michael Herman, chief executive of Chicago House and Social Services Agency.

Chicago House is waiting for further approval from the city Department of Buildings before spaces can be filled. The agency hopes to receive a certificate of occupancy by July.

Once approved, all interested residents must apply through the Chicago Housing Authority.

“We have not had final approval from the city Department of Buildings, so we have not been able to identify people to move into the facility. A combination of those units are CHA-funded, so for those units, we have a wait list open,” Herman told the Sun-Times.

Requirements for families have been put in place. If families have income, they will be required to apply 30 percent of that income toward their housing. If they have no income, the cost of housing will be covered by Chicago House.

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