By Bob Uphues
Local officials and others will gather at the southwest corner of East and Ogden Avenue in LaGrange on April 21 at 10 a.m. for a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the start of construction of Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing, a mixed-use support services and long-term housing center operated by BEDS Plus.
Actual construction is slated to begin before the end of April, said Tina Rounds, BEDS Plus executive director, and should take between nine and 12 months to complete. BEDS Plus, the LaGrange-based organization that provides shelter and services for the homeless, hopes the facility will be up and running before the summer of 2018.
The groundbreaking ceremony at 9601 Ogden Ave. will be the culmination of a years-long process to make the facility a reality. The LaGrange Village Board approved Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing in April 2015 in the face of some intense neighborhood opposition. East Avenue is Brookfield's western border south of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks.
The facility will provide services for the area's homeless during the day and will have 20 studio apartments to house chronically homeless individuals.
Construction traffic will be routed up and down East Avenue, said Rounds, and BEDS Plus is working with the 2nd Baptist Church, 26 Washington Ave., to contain construction parking.
"We hope to have as little impact on the neighborhood as possible during construction," Rounds said.
BEDS Plus officials invited community members to a pre-construction meeting on April 18 at the LaGrange Community Center to discuss the construction timeline and other aspects of the project.
The organization raised about $6 million from a combination of public sources and a capital campaign. BEDS Plus won a $3.6 million Illinois Tax Credit Financing award, and obtained another $1.3 million through the Community Development Block Grant HOME fund. The Federal Home Loan Bank awarded the project $300,000.
The remaining $1 million was collected through BEDS Plus' capital campaign, from both major foundation support and individual supporters in the community.
In addition to the new supportive housing facility, BEDS Plus will continue to operate its overnight shelters Oct. 1 through May 15, seven days a week, at area churches.
Each church, including St. Barbara Church, 4008 Prairie Ave. in Brookfield, and St. Louise de Marillac Church, 1112 Raymond Ave. in LaGrange Park, serves as a shelter once a week during those months.