Christian Community Health Center and Full Circle Communities Partner to Bring Brainerd Park Apartments to the 21st Ward

Brainerd Park Apartments Groundbreaking

Author: Joshua Wilmoth - Full Circle Communities

CHICAGO, IL – In ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 25, the City of Chicago, Alderman Howard B. Brookins, Jr. of the 21st Ward, along with local residents and civic organizations join Christian Community Health Center and Full Circle Communities, Inc. in celebrating the groundbreaking for Brainerd Park Apartments.

Honorable Alderman Howard B. Brookins, Jr. said “After many years in the making, this development will transform a stretch of vacant land into a neighborhood asset that creates jobs and quality housing in the 21st Ward".

Kenneth Burnett, CEO of Christian Community Health Center, the project’s co‐owner, said “Christian Community Health Center is dedicated to serving our community not only by providing quality health care and services, but also by sparking economic development.”

Speaking on behalf of the developer and co‐owner, Joshua Wilmoth, Full Circle’s President and CEO, said: “This celebration honors the many elected officials and financial and community partners who helped make this building a reality. Our partners and the Brainerd Park community have been tremendously supportive of this development that is providing much needed quality service‐rich housing.”

The development, revitalizing long vacant land at 8920 S Loomis Street in the Brainerd Park neighborhood, will consist of 36 new high‐quality units designed for accessibility, and will include on‐site management, a library, computer room, and community room. On‐site resident service space will be staffed by Christian Community Health Center, coordinating access to health and wellness services, employment services, and financial counseling. The building will be energy efficient, earning LEED certification once completed. This transit‐oriented building is located steps away from the Brainerd Park Metra station, which delivers riders to downtown Chicago in under 25 minutes. The project is adjacent to the Brainerd Park library and recreation opportunities at Brainerd Park.

Brainerd Park ApartmentsThe almost $12 million development is made possible through tax credit financing and land donation by the City of Chicago, equity from The National Equity Fund, Inc.; energy efficiency funds from Com‐Ed and Peoples Gas,grant funds from The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, developer equity, a permanent loan from IFF, and pre‐development funds from CSH.  Construction financing is provided by Capital One Bank, N.A.  The development is designed by Hooker DeJong, Inc. with civil engineering provided by Manhard Consulting. The Chicago‐based general contractor is a joint venture between Safeway Construction Company, Inc. and Joseph J. Duffy Company and is focused on MBE/WBE and local hiring.

Full Circle is a Chicago‐based philanthropic non‐profit with the mission of expanding access to affordable housing through preservation and development, thoughtful design, and the provision of significant and contextual services. Full Circle dedicates 75% of their project cash flow to providing services for their residents. More information:


New Cook County court aims to treat prostitutes more like victims with services primarily provided by Christian Community Health Center's "Footprints" program.

Chicago Tribune
Article Link

Cook County officials announced Friday that a new court will try to transform how prostitution charges are handled so that women caught up in sex trafficking are treated more like victims and get the help they need.

The effort comes after the state Legislature approved a new law in 2013 requiring that every prostitution case charged in Illinois be a misdemeanor, not a felony.

The Chicago Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court aims to give those arrested for prostitution the assistance they need to escape that life, while also reducing jail crowding and substance abuse and addiction among women in sex work, officials said.

The new court was initiated by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office in conjunction with Chief Judge Timothy Evans and the public defender's office.

At a news conference at her downtown offices, Alvarez said the program was modeled after a program in Manhattan.

"We know that many women involved in prostitution are victims of human traffickers or they face issues such as chronic homelessness, mental health issues or addiction and they engage in prostitution for basic necessities such as food and shelter," Alvarez said in a statement. "We strongly believe that this unique and coordinated initiative will bring positive results for the participants and their families, public safety and the criminal justice system as a whole."

"It is a step in the right direction because it shifts the conversation and recognizes that these people, mostly women, are victims, not criminals," Public Defender Amy Campanelli said. "It will remove them from the cycle of drugs, abuse and exploitation, and treat them as human beings, not case numbers to be processed as offenders."

The court program will be located at the Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse at 555 W. Harrison St.

Most defendants will be able to have their charges dismissed if they successfully complete the program, which will vary based on the person's criminal background and needs, officials said.

Defendants will be offered individual assessment and case management, HIV testing and referral to treatment and group and individual counseling, with services primarily provided by Christian Community Health Center's "Footprints" program, officials said. Other agencies involved include Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the Salvation Army's STOP-IT program, which works with victims of human trafficking, and Thresholds, a mental health services agency.

Those who refuse the program or fail to finish will have the option of pleading guilty and enrolling in an intensive treatment course as an alternative to incarceration, officials said.

Eithne McMenamin, associate director of policy for the homeless coalition, said the court will open on Monday and expects to see its first defendants after about a week.

Most sex workers are victims of abuse who have "a long history of trauma" and are in the sex trade as a way to survive, she said.


Check back for the latest news. We ask for everyone to frequent our events calendar, you will find that CCHC has several exciting community activities scheduled during the course of the year. We are always looking for a few good volunteers and your participation is welcomed!

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