Strange and good news

In collaboration with the IFF (formerly the Illinois Facilities Fund) and thirteen other agencies in the state, Streator Unlimited has been awarded federal stimulus funds through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  We plan to build an 8-bed, fully accessible group home in order to downsize Knox Estates to 8 beds as well.  This will allow all residents to have their own room, which would be a great improvement in quality of life.  After all, who of us as adults would want to share a bedroom with an assigned roommate?

Since IFF is working with so many different agencies, they have reserved the right to select the architect and contractor to build the home.  Thirteen agencies is enough work for them to coordinate, much less 13 different architects and 13 different contractors.  While it is unfortunate Streator Unlimited will not be able to select these ourselves, we accepted these limitations in order to have such a great opportunity for the people we serve.

Streator Unlimited will have to come up with some of the funds ourselves because the funds don’t quite cover all of our needs.  We have successfully obtained a $20,000 grant from the Dunham Fund to help cover this.  It is a truly strange thing to be granted federal funds to build a new home at the same time the state is cutting our funding and getting further and further behind in payments.

Update:  a nice article from the Times on this.

Surveys and contracts

DHS SURVEY 6-2010

These are the survey results from the state’s 2010 annual survey of our Developmental Training Program.  We are proud of these results as they recognize our consistent efforts to provide the best quality services possible, despite last year’s funding cuts and the late payments from the state.

On a more somber note, our contracts for the fiscal year beginning July 1 arrived today.  Our grants for Workshop, Supported Employment, and Community Supports were all gone, a total amount of $150,000.   The contracts do not tell us what the rates for our other services will be.  The Governor’s original budget proposal was to cut these by 2.5%.  We hope to find out on Wednesday (the day before the new fiscal year begins), when the Governor announces how he will implement the lump-sum budget given him.

Home at last!

We’re moving back in to  Knox today!  What a great relief it will be for everyone.  One resident who was staying with mom and not at the main SU building, was staying in his bedroom more and not wanting to eat because he just wanted to go home.  He will be highly pleased to be back, as will everyone.  There will still be more work to do, but it’s  a great achievement that we’ve made it this far.  Thank you to everyone for all your help and support.

Monday update

They’re installing the new door today at Knox.  We’re still waiting for the windows to arrive.  If they come in soon there’s a decent chance we could move back in this week.  The residents at the main building are continuing to do OK, though it gets old being in the same building most of the time and not being in their own home and their own beds.

Things at Fitzsimmons are fine since the residents moved back in.

Part-way back!

The four ladies at Fitzsimmons House moved back last night!

We now have phone (and fire systems) working at both Fitzsimmons and Knox Estates.  There is still some work on the sofit happening at Knox today. Our hope is that the replacement door will arrive today and that the replacement windows will arrive on Monday.  With those things done and inspection/approval from the Department of Public Health, we project moving back into Knox somewhere along the lines of Wednesday-Friday next week, June 23-25.

The folk staying here at the main building have done a good job of adapting to their temporary housing.  While of course not designed as a residence, it has the advantage of being familiar and comfortable surroundings.

Tuesday

Here’s a story that ran in the Times on Saturday.  Things continue to go OK for our displaced residents.   We have not yet gotten the phone back on at Fitzsimmons, so are waiting on that.  Thank you all for your on going support, and a special thanks to the Ramp Builders who replaced the wheelchair ramp we lost in the tornado.

TGIF Update

No changes as we head into the weekend.  There are IDOT trucks out by Knox cleaning up the branches.  It’s going to look strange to have the drive without that nice row of pines.  The fellows from Eplin are out working on the sofit.  The debris in the yard is largely picked up.  Waiting on the door, windows, phones. One air conditioning unit at Knox it working, but won’t hold out long, so we’ll be ordering a replacement.

We’ve had some donations from the website, in person, and via gift cards to local restaurants.  These, along with the donations of food, have been truly appreciated.  We’ll try to get a list of thank you’s together when things get settled down again, but there’s no way we won’t leave somebody out, because so many have helped amidst this chaos.

If you’re out and about this weekend, our displaced residents would welcome some company to break up the day, so please stop by.  Thank you all for your support.