Edgewater Systems’ South Shore Commons Opens in Gary – Changing Lives

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by



Building Indiana News | January 29th, 2014 | by Nick D

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, January 28th, for Edgewater Systems’ new South Shore Commons facility in Gary, Indiana – a 60-unit, two-story, permanent supportive housing development managed by behavioral healthcare experts who strive to enhance the lives of homeless and mentally ill individuals.  Construction began on the building in spring of 2013, and the project was completed in only six months.

Vernita Leslie of the Broadway Area Community Development Corporation came up with the initial idea for the South Shore Commons. “We were looking for the opportunity for multi-family units,” Leslie said, “And when I met with Edgewater, they thought we had a great idea.”

Joe Alamillo, of NSP Consultants, property managers for the South Shore Commons, said, “Vernita has the premier not-for-profit in the area – they had an idea for a supported housing project, and they needed help. So, after partnering with Edgewater, the National Equity Fund, numerous banks, HUD, Gary’s previous and current administration, the Gary Chamber of Commerce, James Douglas Smith Architects, Ledcor Construction, and others, it’s all come to life. This project has been unbelievably rewarding – you cannot believe the sensitivity and security that this place brings to people’s lives.”

He also added that the facility currently has no debt. Tax credits for the project were purchased by local corporations, primarily equity firms, leaving Edgewater with no debt for the South Shore Commons. Total costs for the project were roughly $12 million, and the funding for the tax credits were provided by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, National Equity Fund, Inc., Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, city HOME funds, and state HOME funds. Ledcor Construction serves as the General Contractor for the project.

Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes, President and CEO of Edgewater Systems, said, “This has been a harsh winter, making a facility like South Shore Commons all the more important. Today is a great day, this facility marks four years of effort in collaboration to bring this project to existence. This building symbolizes how perseverance and hard work can turn an idea into reality, and we thank all of our partners for their efforts.”

“This is Edgewater’s 40th year,” she continued, “This building represents renewal in our mission to improve the lives of all we serve. There are a lot of needs in our community. We’ve come together as partners and leaders to see those needs met.”

Karen Freeman-Wilson, the City of Gary’s Mayor, spoke during the ribbon cutting ceremony. She said, “I am proud to say we are a very energetic partner and supporter with this project. We congratulate all of the partners on all of their efforts. This is called South Shore Commons, and that word, commons, is an area where people come together. This project is anything but common – it’s extraordinary because of what it means for this community. It’s extraordinary because of all of the non-profit organizations that came together for this project. It is really going to bring the community together. This is indicative as to how the community can come together on behalf of our citizens who need it most. I think that this is indicative that we are willing to treat people first as people, as human beings, and help them elevate their status because we know that it elevates us all. We want to continue to support this project and the entire Edgewater community as we work toward building a better Gary.”

Charles Hughes, Executive Director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, said, “Speaking on behalf of the board of directors for the Gary Chamber of Commerce, I’d like to say that I am delighted to be here at this event, to see this magnificent edifice come to life. These occasions are multiplying themselves in this community. This needs to transpire in every endeavor of the community, we’re on course for great things in Gary. This project is going to open the door for other projects like this. The Chamber has a great deal of pride in this facility.”

The apartments at the South Shore Commons are fully furnished, and the building contains quite a bit of security features to protect the residents. A typical stay in the facility is roughly three to four years, but there is no limit to the length of stay. The facility has in-house psychiatric health treatment, job training, educational services, therapeutic and case management services, and numerous other ways to help individuals rebuild their lives. Individuals seeking to live at the South Shore Commons need only meet with Edgewater to determine if they meet the qualifications of residency.

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