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Rosecrance gets green light from Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals to bring vital services to city

The drug- and alcohol-free recovery residence will serve people aged 18-29.

The Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 16 granted a special use permit to Rosecrance Health Network, allowing Rosecrance to proceed with plans to offer supportive living for young adults in recovery in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

The drug- and alcohol-free recovery residence will serve people aged 18-29. A building is under construction at 3701 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, that will contain a counseling center on the first floor and supportive housing for people in recovery on floors 2-4. The counselling center is a permitted use under current zoning; the recovery home needed a special use permit, which the ZBA granted on Oct. 16, after hearing nearly 8 hours of testimony from Rosecrance and from opponents.

Young people who live in the recovery residence will receive treatment services in the counseling center and supportive services such as academic and life coaching through the housing program. They may attend college or work. They will participate in 12 Step meetings in the community, have sponsors, do volunteer work and enjoy planned recreational activities with other residents of the building. The goal is to provide a community of support to help each individual grow in recovery and make progress toward life goals.

Rosecrance plans to begin offering services in Lakeview in the spring of 2016.

Rosecrance President/CEO Philip W. Eaton issued a statement in response to the ZBA ruling, which could have a long-lasting impact on issues relating to fair housing in Chicago and across the nation.

Statement by Philip Eaton:

“Rosecrance Health Network gratefully acknowledges the unanimous decision of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals to allow us to establish a drug- and alcohol-free recovery home in Lakeview to help young adults reclaim their lives from addiction and find success and purpose in life.

“We were surprised, and extremely pleased, by the ZBA’s quick approval of our permit after the long hearing. It was clear to us throughout the hearing that members of the ZBA understand the importance of having quality programs like ours in Chicago to help young people maintain recovery. Illinois, and particularly Chicago, are facing an epidemic of substance abuse that is claiming too many lives. We have the experience and the expertise to help fight this problem.

“The board’s ruling contains only one condition: that the SUP for the location will expire if Rosecrance sells the property or goes out of business. We accept that condition without question.

“We are particularly gratified that the ZBA placed no other conditions on the special use permit, as housing restrictions that are directed only at people in recovery, who are a protected class under the federal Fair Housing Act, violate federal law. We look forward to reading the written decision when it is issued.

“We also wish to thank Alderman Tom Tunney and his Chief of Staff Bennett Lawson, as they have worked tirelessly with us over the past five months to understand Rosecrance and this project, as well as the perspectives of neighbors and community organizations. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the support of the many individuals and organizations that stood with us in this fight, especially those who took the day off work to attend the hearing, who rallied supporters, who wrote letters of support, and who joined forces with us to champion the rights of all citizens with disabilities through this case. We are forever grateful and look forward to building relationships with you as we move forward on this project. This is an important decision that will have a significant impact in Chicago, and perhaps across the nation, for years to come.”

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