Embrace Living Campaign to Help At-Risk Older Adults Transition to Safe, Affordable Homes

Embrace Living residents enjoy a moment of fun.

Every year, Embrace Living — based in Oak Brook, Ill. — helps new residents move into its 25 affordable senior housing communities in Illinois and make them home. Embrace Living’s continued support is crucial after someone moves in, especially in the first few years when most people are uncertain, weary and overwhelmed by their everyday needs. To help assist the many new residents, Embrace Living created “Support the Move to Better Living,” a campaign to help Illinois’ at-risk and homeless seniors and people with disabilities comfortably transition to safe and affordable homes.

The monies raised through the campaign will help Embrace Living’s newest residents get back on their feet by funding the social service programs they need to live comfortably after they’ve moved to Embrace Living.

Illinois’ Cook County gained nearly 80,000 older adult households between 2012 and 2019, a 19.4 percent increase. As the cost of living rises, many older adults’ savings are proving meager. Access to affordable senior housing is becoming imperative, especially considering that over 16.5 million older adults aged 65-plus (roughly 1 in 3) are economically insecure. That means they have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

In Chicago specifically, nearly 60 percent of older adult renters are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent alone. This isn’t sustainable, and Embrace Living has heard how these situations have impacted our residents prior to them finding us.

Here are just a few of the people who have been supported by Embrace Living Communities after facing the possibility of homelessness:

Carol’s Story, Greencastle of Mulford

When Carol’s husband died suddenly, she was left in a difficult financial position. She and her husband hadn’t had a chance to talk about financial planning, and his medical bills drained their savings. Her single income wasn’t going to be enough.

A financial advisor suggested that she look into affordable senior housing. At first she was hesitant because of the stigma associated with low-income housing, but she has been amazed by the quality of the apartments and management at Embrace Living.

“I don’t think my friends that live in other communities, including those that are not low-income, have it any better than I do,” says Carol of her experience at Embrace Living.

Annie’s Story, Greencastle of Woodlawn II

As Annie battled breast cancer, she found herself struggling to afford a safe home. Her sister stepped up to care for her, but Annie knew that she needed to find a place to call her own. That’s when she reached out to us.

Our team worked as quickly as possible to find her a home, ultimately moving Annie into Greencastle of Woodlawn II. Now eight years cancer free, she is a beloved member of the community in Southeast Chicago.

She’s thankful for all that she has — from her caring sister, to her son and three grandsons, and her community. “I have a safe and secure environment where I have friends, and here, we look out for each other.”

Dee’s Story, Greencastle of Mulford

When the housing crash hit in 2008, Dee got laid off. She has been planning to work for another few years to save for retirement. However, at 65 in a bad economy, the prospects of finding a new job were slim.

“I was burning through my savings,” she says. “My sons gave me a place to stay and store my belongings, but they could only support me temporarily. I was homeless, friendless and looking for a miracle.”

That’s when she found us. Since moving into her new home, she has made some of her closest friends and been able to indulge in her artistic talent. Today, her apartment is decorated with her beautiful landscape paintings, and she leads art classes for others.

Affordable senior housing is a necessity for many of our neighbors, but it takes more than just providing a space for them to live. It requires building a community with programs and resources that will help them acclimate then thrive. That’s what “Support the Move to Better Living” is about: providing holistic support to Embrace Living’s newest residents so that they can age with dignity in a welcoming, affordable home.

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