Braving the threat of rain and a thunderstorm, 120 Fox River Valley Initiative leaders, allies and neighbors gathered under a tent at 1212 Larkin in Elgin, Illinois on the afternoon of Friday, September 27, to celebrate groundbreaking for an affordable housing development.
The development will have 10 dedicated units for people with mental or physical disabilities with onsite case management. The other 38 units will be 2-3 bedroom apartments for people living between 30 and 60 percent of the area’s medium income.
Elgin’s Mayor Dave Kaptain expressed his appreciation to the Fox River Valley Initiative for organizing and bringing the vision of 1212 Larkin to Elgin. He observed, “My vision is to bring quality housing for every citizen of Elgin.” Under his leadership, the city council had voted 8-0 in support of the project.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon recalled a meeting in Washington DC when he and others from Metro IAF met with officials who were discouraged by NIMBYs in other efforts to create affordable housing. He noted “Well, here we are – less than a year later. That takes real courage and real leadership.” He recognized the importance of the development because “housing for people with mental challenges leads to lower crime, fewer people in jail, reduced homelessness, and fewer people in Emergency Rooms.”
The Reverend Katie Shaw Thompson, from Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, led a Blessing of 1212 Larkin. While people held 48 candles representing the promise of 48 living units, she said, “We need to continue taking bold steps to rebuild our communities into places that are welcoming to everyone.”