HAND Breaks Ground in Cicero

Hamilton County – Before long, five seniors will be moving into their new home in Cicero at the corner of Peru and Flannegan Streets thanks to the efforts of Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development (HAND). HAND is a non-profit that has been focusing for years on the lack of affordable senior housing in Hamilton County.

“This is an important need, and we are excited to be partnering with the Town of Cicero and Hamilton County to make this happen,” says Nate Lichti, Executive Director. “Seniors on fixed incomes are increasingly challenged to keep up with the costs of living, and stable housing gives them a platform from which they can improve their lives.”

The organization’s largest community is Spicewood Gardens in Sheridan and consists of 52 patio homes for seniors. Spicewood has a multi-year wait-list and the residents are thriving. Lichti says, “We want our residents to be engaged citizens, and we’re seeing things take shape at Spicewood. Residents are gardening and sharing their produce with their neighbors; they are planning game nights and participating in ‘Together Today,’ a senior support group led by our partner, the Shepherd Center.”
Lakeside Gardens in Cicero could have a similar effect on a smaller scale. Seniors will access high quality, energy efficient, and accessible housing while paying a fair portion for their rent. In total, there will be five apartments, each with two bedrooms. Their rent and utility payments will be affordable so the seniors can maintain the ability to stay on top of their monthly budgets. In addition, the location in downtown means they will have easy access to the grocery, doctors, and rich community life available in Cicero.

HAND, regrettably, could only manage to save select trees at the heavily wooded lot. “We were fortunate to have a General Contractor, CPM, who was very conscientious about reusing and saving worthwhile trees,” reported Lichti. “Very little, if anything, went to the landfill.”

HAND plans to give the community several opportunities to visit the project and see firsthand the construction standards and quality of the housing.

“Since we follow green building practices, most of which aren’t visible at completion, I hope we can give folks a good tour of what’s behind the walls at Lakeside Gardens,” says Lichti.

HAND is a small organization with a nine-member Board of Directors that relies on partnerships with local and state entities to make things happen. Lakeside Gardens received support from the Hamilton County Commissioners, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), and Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HAND is a non-profit organization with a mission to “invest in neighborhoods, provide housing solutions and build partnerships to improve lives and build communities in Hamilton County.” HAND’s offices are located in a building it renovated in Noblesville, but its board members come from several Hamilton County communities. HAND’s strategic plan for 2014-16 creates many new partnership opportunities, and HAND looks forward to working with a diverse group of individuals and organizations interested in supporting low-income families and communities. HAND’s 10th Anniversary Event is on October 11th from 4-7pm at the Mill-Top Banquet Center in Noblesville.