Prairie Trail at The Landings provides 25 affordable homes in New Lenox, Illinois.
Kendall McCaugherty/Hall+Merrick Photographers Prairie Trail at The Landings provides 25 affordable homes in New Lenox, Illinois.

Trinity Services has addressed the significant need for independent housing and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New Lenox, Illinois. Prairie Trail at The Landings, which is comprised of 22 one-bedroom and three three-bedroom units, provides an alternative to group homes and other institutional settings.

“Part of the reason we are excited about Prairie Trail at The Landings is that it’s supporting people with intellectual disabilities,” says Thane Dykstra, CEO of Trinity Services. “That group of individuals has been somewhat underserved. More and more, people are recognizing that they have the capability and preferences to have their own place to call home.”

Founded in 1950 and based in New Lenox, a Southwest Chicago suburb, Trinity Services provides supports to more than 5,500 people with developmental disabilities and mental illness in more than 30 Illinois communities. At Prairie Trail, the nonprofit is piloting a cost-effective remote support program to give residents with a disability another means to increase their independence and achieve their goals. One staff member, working in a hub, can monitor and support residents remotely. This person can conduct environment checks and monitor a number of sensors in each apartment, including exits and windows, thermostats, and smoke detectors, as well as can provide direct audio or visual support to residents who request assistance.

“Remote supports are gaining traction around the country,” says Dykstra. “One, there’s a national staffing shortage, and the pandemic has worsened that. It has really put a lot of pressure on the caregiver community. Two, it’s facilitating autonomy. I think the remote supports may help residents feel a sense of pride and become more independent.”

Trinity Services also provides on-site resources tailored to residents’ needs, including case management and assistance with daily living and life skills.

The development is located close to job and shopping opportunities as well as transportation, allowing residents the opportunity to participate in the larger New Lenox community. Developed on an underutilized infill piece of land, Prairie Trail bridges the gap between single-family housing and commercial uses. The building blends into the residential neighborhood with a welcoming entry set into a contemporary townhouse façade. The rear of the building contains a private recreation area with landscaping and areas for residents to socialize.

Trinity Services expects the development, which was completed at the end of January, to be fully leased in October. Four units are set aside for residents earning 60% of the area median income (AMI), while the remaining 21 units are at 30% of the AMI. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has provided a long-term operating support grant to subsidize rents on seven units. IHDA also administers Department of Housing and Urban Development Sec. 811 project rental assistance contracts for six units.

The $8.1 million permanent supportive housing development was financed with state and national Housing Trust Fund loans through IHDA and HOME funds from the Will County HOME Consortium. Fallbrook Capital provided the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit equity, and Trinity Services also contributed equity to the development.

Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects served as the architect, Synergy Construction Group as the general contractor, and Brush Hill Development as the development consultant.