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Homeward bound: Home of the Sparrow, collaborators creating 11 affordable units

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(Sarah Nader ())
Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Jessica Hotaling (left), associate director at Housing Opportunity Development, and Home of the Sparrow employees Emily Landis of McHenry and Keeva Griego of Crystal Lake tour one of the units Thursday during the groundbreaking in Woodstock for 11 units of affordable housing. In all, the 11 units will provide supportive housing for 35 to 45 people.

WOODSTOCK – Eleven units will be added to Home of the Sparrow’s affordable housing list through a partnership with the Housing Opportunity Development Corp.

The additional supportive housing includes foreclosed homes in Woodstock and Fox River Grove that account for five units and property in Woodstock that will be turned into six new town houses.

The project will be paid for through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The $1.9 million pays for construction and renovation, as well as items such as property taxes and utilities.

“We were determined to keep these funds in McHenry County,” IHDA project coordinator Shelly Tucciarelli said during a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday in Woodstock. “This puts more permanent, affordable housing in a county where it is needed.”

The program funds projects that acquire, rehabilitate and redevelop foreclosed properties that are abandoned or considered eyesores in the community.

The projects must benefit low-, moderate- and middle-income people – those who earn less than 120 percent of the area median income.

The home on North Street in Woodstock was foreclosed and has been vacant for more than three years.

Residents have worried about what would happen to the house that was built before the turn of the century, said Trudie Dreyer, who lives across the street from it.

“Fixing it up is better than having an abandoned home in your neighborhood,” she said. “This will be a great use for this house. It’s a great neighborhood, and I can’t wait to have new neighbors.”

The project of 11 housing units is expected to take five to six months that next spring will be available to 35 to 45 eligible residents.

Through the collaborative agreement, McHenry-based Home of the Sparrow will own the units. The Housing Opportunity Development Corp. is responsible for acquisition and development.

“It takes a community of people to move something like this along,” said Richard Koenig, executive director of the HODC. “This project has been a long time coming.”

Home of the Sparrow President Nancy Hiatt agreed.

“We are excited about this partnership because affordable housing is very badly needed in the county,” she said. “This is the beginning of what we believe will be a long, successful journey.”

Home of the Sparrow currently has two transitional shelters, nine apartments, and four Sparrow’s Nest thrift stores. A fifth thrift store is scheduled to open this fall in Algonquin.

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