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Non-Profit Neighborhood Development Group of the Year: Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago

Most of us agree that everyone deserves safe and permanent affordable housing. But, in reality, some populations are harder to house than others. Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago (IHDCC) specializes in building homes for those most vulnerable and in need - families affected by HIV/AIDS, individuals and families recovering from substance abuse, formerly homeless veterans and those discharged from hospitals with no housing options.

Since 1993, IHDCC has partnered with faith-based and community service organizations to provide over 300 units of supportive housing in 9 buildings throughout Chicago. IHDCC has created a symbiotic arrangement with its partners, allowing it to focus on development and housing management, while its partners provide residents with supportive services.

During the last year, IHDCC opened two buildings that exemplify its expertise. Sanctuary Place consists of 69 units in two buildings in West Humboldt Park. One building offers efficiency apartments for single women; the other offers large, three bedroom units for women with children. All of the tenants are recovering from drug abuse and some were formerly incarcerated. West Humboldt Park Family and Community Development is the community partner and worked with area residents to explain and support Sanctuary's presence there.

The second project is Independence House in North Lawndale. Twenty-five large units house families with a parent recovering from drug abuse. On-site services include educational and support programs that encourage self-sufficiency.

Both developments provide permanent housing for their residents, making the journey toward recovery more secure. They also reflect IHDCC's commitment to local hiring; all entry-level jobs in building management are filled through their Skills Discovery Training Program, providing income and job skills to local residents.

IHDCC is also responsible for Interfaith House, the Midwest's first recovery center for homeless people discharged from area hospitals, and Vision House, which provides 25 apartments and a full continuum of care to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

The organization's courageous and successful vision for the most vulnerable in our society has earned Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago the 2005 Non-Profit Neighborhood Development Group of the Year Award.