County Approves ARPA Funding for Tendick Street Housing Project

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 26, 2023 at 5:13pm

A proposed project aimed at bringing supportive housing to Jacksonville took another step forward this morning.

The Morgan County Commissioners approved an ordinance providing for $100,000 in ARPA funding for the Tendick Street apartment project. The vote was 2-0 with Commissioner Mike Wankel abstaining from the vote.

Springfield area developer and Jacksonville native Mike Niehaus has proposed building a 22-unit permanent supportive housing complex on the site of the former Hillcrest Mobile Home Court in the 1100 block of Tendick Street.

According to Niehaus, the $6.2 million project could have 90% of the cost funded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, but he has to secure funding for a 10% match in order to apply.

Commissioner Ginny Fanning says, the $100,000 in funding did not come from the bulk ARPA funding the county received early on, and instead comes from additional funds earmarked for this kind of project.

This was another opportunity that was given to the county to apply for, and we did. So we had one hundred thousand that was set aside through the ARPA funds that were meant for homeless or people who need housing, and that’s one of the ways that this money could be used.

Obviously, there are other funds for other uses, but this was set aside for housing and we felt this was a wonderful opportunity to put that one hundred thousand toward this project.”

According to the IHDA guidelines, the project would provide housing for the homeless, low-income persons with disabilities, as well as other special needs populations including people with criminal records and military veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The City of Jacksonville approved $200,000 in funding for the project earlier this month. Niehaus says the municipal commitments mean they are a little over 50% of the way toward the goal of a 10% match.

This is another great step in the right direction in bringing some solution to the problem of homelessness in Jacksonville, and I think it’s a strong show of support from the county and the city both, that we do need to do something to solve this problem.

We’re just over halfway. We’ve got a few places to keep digging for the rest of the funding. But we are hoping to hear from Blue Cross Blue Shield to finish that, and hopefully, we will hear from them this week.”

Niehaus has previously designed and helped build Prairie Estates, Gilmore Estates, and the Downtown Commons in the Jacksonville area. He has also overseen new housing developments built in Roodhouse and Greenfield within the last 5 years, as well as a project similar to this one that opened in Springfield earlier this year.

The application is due into the IDHA by January 16th, with approval or denial being issued on April 19th. Nehaus says if all is a go, the plan is to start construction next fall.