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Ashburn

In Ashburn, Volunteers Team Up To Build Accessible Housing For Seniors With Disabilities

Envision Unlimited, a nonprofit organization that has served people with disabilities across the state for over 70 years, is building an ADA-compliant home that will serve six to eight senior residents.

Organizers at Envision Unlimited, JLK Architects, current residents and Ald. Derrick Curtis dig the first scoop of dirt at the planned site for the accessible home, 2651 W. 83rd Place.
Atavia Reed/Block Club Chicago
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ASHBURN — An accessible housing facility that caters to seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities is coming to Ashburn.

Envision Unlimited, a nonprofit organization that has served people with disabilities across the state for over 70 years, will build an ADA-compliant home that will serve six to eight senior residents. The home, 2651 W. 83rd Place, will look like any other house in the neighborhood, organizers said, with a backyard patio, raised garden beds and a front porch.

The home creates a supportive space for people with special needs outside of a nursing facility, Mark McHugh, president and chief executive officer at Envision Unlimited, said.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the same desires, rights and interests to live in a community setting as you and I,” McHugh said. “The central part of our mission is to help people have as much choice in their lives as possible, to live as independently as they can and to be included in their community choice. This particular home is going to allow people to age in place.” 

Credit: JLK Architects
A look at the accessible housing facility at 2651 W. 83rd Place. Construction will begin in May, and the home will welcome residents in December.

Organizers at Envision Unlimited have long dreamt of creating a space like the South Side home, but funding was always an issue, McHugh said. A silver lining came in 2018 when their facilities director noticed a vacant piece of land on 83rd Place.

The land’s owner, Florida resident Andreas Mueller, happily donated the space, McHugh said. 

Susan Turner, a senior technical architect at JLK Architects, provided a “schematic design” for the home.

Her woman-owned firm took on the project pro bono and enlisted consultants, architects and contractors to work on the space as volunteers. Most of the home’s materials, including the roof, toilets, sinks, lighting and flooring, were donated as well, Turner said.

Credit: JLK Architects
A look at the accessible housing facility at 2651 W. 83rd Place. Construction will begin in May, and the home will welcome residents in December.

The space has been nicknamed the “Dream House,” and the team behind it, “The Dream Team,” she said. 

“There are a lot of wonderful representatives of material and construction companies who support architects and engineers in the city, and I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of them over the 20 years that I have been working in Chicago,” Turner said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Envision and Envision members on this amazing project to try and make this the house that love built.”

Credit: JLK Architects
A look at the accessible housing facility at 2651 W. 83rd Place. Construction will begin in May, and the home will welcome residents in December.

At a presser celebrating the home-to-be, Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) said he is “excited” about the project coming to his neighborhood. 

“I’m proud of all the partners that are here today to make this possible,” Curtis said. “Economic development is the best thing in the world. It makes everyone’s property value go up.” 

Six residents are expected to move into the home when it opens in time for Christmas, McHugh said. Construction will begin in May. 

The home will have features like a butterfly garden and cherry tomatoes that neighbors can pick as they walk by, Turner said. It will be a “lovely place to live,” she said. 

Ashburn was the perfect place for this home, McHugh said.

“Ashburn is a great neighborhood, and it fits well with where many people would like to live,” McHugh said. “I hope the residents in the area see this as a positive development and that they will have neighbors with who they can be friends.” 

About half of the cost of the home has already been donated. To help get it across the finish line, neighbors can donate money, labor or materials here.

Credit: JLK Architects
A look at the accessible housing facility at 2651 W. 83rd Place. Construction will begin in May, and the home will welcome residents in December.

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