Town Hall Apartments is switching management amid financial turmoil at Heartland Alliance.
Full Circle Communities, an affordable housing nonprofit with more than 1,600 units across the Midwest, plans to take ownership of Town Hall Apartments as Heartland Alliance grapples with inflation, rising healthcare costs and pandemic-related losses.
Town Hall Apartments, 3600 N. Halsted St., opened in 2014 as the first affordable, LGBTQ+-friendly senior housing in the Midwest. Aimed at addressing the unique needs of aging LGBTQ+ people, the building has long been a partnership among Heartland Alliance, Center on Halsted and the Chicago Housing Authority.
But plans for Full Circle Communities to step in for Heartland Alliance will go before Chicago City Council for approval during its February meeting, said Joshua Wilmoth, CEO of Full Circle Communities.
"We're most of the way now through the process," Wilmoth said. "Everyone involved in the deals has been working together to make sure that the properties remain affordable."
Full Circle Communities has experience serving LGBTQ+ people from a supportive housing building it runs for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth in Detroit, Wilmoth said. The Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center opened in 2022 with 43 supportive housing units and services such as healthcare and career training.
The nonprofit also plans to open an LGBTQ+-friendly affordable senior living facility in Ferndale, Michigan, Wilmoth said. The Raymond E. Shepherd House will have 53 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments. Construction begins soon.
Full Circle also has an intergenerational LGBTQ+ housing building planned for the South Side, Wilmoth said.
"We recognize that LGBTQ+ people come with a wide array of lived experiences and a wide array of service needs," Wilmoth said. "So we're doing these initiatives in a culturally sensitive and competent way."
Heartland Alliance, one of Chicago's largest social services agencies, is in the process of selling about 1,000 affordable units in Chicago and Wisconsin after years of financial woes, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Heartland Alliance's housing division has dealt with declining rent payments since the pandemic, while its health division is also facing rising costs.
Full Circle Communities is also in talks to acquire the Hollywood House, a 12-story senior building at 5700 N. Sheridan Road, from Heartland Alliance, Wilmoth said.
Representatives from Heartland Alliance did not return requests for comment.
Heartland Alliance's services at Town Hall Apartments have also declined, with residents of the building rallying last year for increased security after those services were scaled back, according to an article from Block Club Chicago.
Wilmoth said the building's security has since been expanded back to its former levels, but he understands the importance of it at Town Hall Apartments.
"In our discussions with the Center on Halsted, as we were being considered as a potential replacement owner, it was made very clear to us that having security at the same level as it was early on in the property was very important."
Representatives from Full Circle Communities have not yet met with residents of Town Hall Apartments, but they hope to do so within the coming weeks, Wilmoth said. The nonprofit will spend the year getting to know its residents through surveys, focus groups and other community engagement.
"We're trying to get a better understanding of what's currently going on at the building and how our involvement as eventual owner can help to enhance their access to services and the broader community," Wilmoth said.
See also www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Ribbon-cutting-at-LGBTQ-friendly-senior-apartments-/49257.html,https://www.chicagotribune.com/2024/02/04/financial-crisis-heartland-alliance/ , and blockclubchicago.org/2023/04/13/lgbtq-seniors-say-theyre-at-risk-after-security-guards-removed-at-northalsteds-town-hall-apartments/ .