Big plans for Opportunity House's 50th year

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:54 a.m. CDT
Caption
(MidWeek file photo)
Sheila Buchholz assembles wire connectors at O.H. Industries in Sycamore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. O.H. Industries is a division of Opportunity House that provides employment and vocational training to adults with physical or developmental disabilities. Opportunity House is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

SYCAMORE — This year is the 50th anniversary of Opportunity House Inc., which offers services to adults with developmental disabilities in the Sycamore-DeKalb area. This not-for-profit organization is carrying on its mission by announcing an expansion of residential services.

Recently, an existing home was purchased in Sycamore, bringing the total number of homes the organization owns to eight. There are also plans to break ground on a new home this spring.

“We have been experiencing increased demand for our services over the last few years. Purchasing another home to provide assisted living in a community setting was a priority for us,” executive director Bob Shipman said. “People who were on a waiting list will benefit from living in a single-family home with their peers. These environments encourage growth and independence in a safe, secure environment. The house we are planning to build replaces a home we are currently renting, and it will be totally accessible to meet the needs of our physically-disabled residents.”

A Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) is a home in which four to eight individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities may live. The homes provide 24-hour support while addressing the unique needs, preferences and abilities of the people who live there. CILA homes are licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services.

“The new homes, like all of our other properties, will be well-maintained and staffed to ensure safety and success of those living there. We pride ourselves on providing a caring, positive environment for the residents while being good neighbors,” Shipman said.

Additionally, Opportunity House plans to expand its day programs and has been developing a new logo and a community awareness program it plans to launch in March.

“We have a lot of things in the works this year, but we are going to spend some time educating the community about what Opportunity House is and why it is so important.  We’ve been around for 50 years now, and my goal is that everyone in the area knows who we are and what we do,” said Shipman.

There is an ongoing need for financial assistance to keep the cost of services at Opportunity House affordable for families. For information about making a donation or to learn more about the programs and services offered by Opportunity House, call 815-895-5108 or visit www.ohinc.org.

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