Kenneth Young Center

The Kenneth Young Center could be a typical non-profit services company that developers so often rely on to handle the social services aspects of their affordable housing developments.

Mitch Bruski, CEO

By Keat Foong, Executive Editor

Kenneth Young Center could be a typical non-profit services company that developers so often rely on to handle the social services aspects of their affordable housing developments. The 501(c)(3) provider of community mental health and senior citizens’ support services is going a step further—the company is for the first time taking part in developing a multifamily project.

Kenneth Young Center is co-developer of the $13.2 million Myers Place, a mixed-use supportive housing development in Mount Prospect, Ill. The project, which just broke ground in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, is being developed by Daveri Development Group LLC. Financing includes $8.1 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit proceeds from United Healthcare of Illinois through a partnership with Enterprise Community Investment Inc.

As co-developer, Kenneth Young Center will have an ownership interest in Myers Place and consult on many aspects of the development, as well as provide onsite case management, counseling and coordination with health care providers after the property is completed.

“We have knowledge of the type of clients who will be moving into the development, and know what needs to be designed into the project to make their lives more comfortable,” explains Mitch Bruski, CEO of Kenneth Young Center, which is a leading provider of social services in the Chicago area.

Myers Place will offer 39 furnished one-bedroom and studio apartments for the disabled, mentally ill or homeless who have the ability to live independently. It is very important, says Bruski, that housing that serves the mentally ill or homeless have a community room where the residents can come together. “A lot of times, they are alienated,” he says. Cluttering is often an issue with the resident profile, and Bruski also suggested including easy-to-access open shelving in individual units.

A leading provider of social services in the Chicago area, Kenneth Young Center offers, for example: counseling for adults, children and families; assessment, stabilization and linkage for individuals in psychiatric crisis; and treatment, support and recovery services for those with serious mental illness. It also arranges home services for the frail elderly.

The Center, which has an annual budget of $9 million, operates two mental health clinics for individuals with insurance, no insurance, or Medicaid, and it also works out of schools and hospitals in its area of operation in the northwestern Chicago suburbs. The company has about 150 full- and part-time employees, says Bruski, including a medical director, psychiatrists, community mental health workers, case managers, social workers and medical doctors. The majority of the non-profit’s funding comes from the state, and Federal grants and fees for service also fund the company.

Kenneth Young Center is working with Daveri Development on a second similar project, says Bruski. According to Bruski, housing the mentally ill in hospitals or nursing homes is both expensive for society and a dehumanizing experience for those institutionalized, and should be avoided where unnecessary. “One of the things that are important to people with serious mental illness is that they have affordable, safe and stable housing. That is why we got into this business,” he adds.