Next Steps for Brethren Housing Residents

In September the 9-unit apartment building on Springfield’s Main St., known as Brethren Housing, will be torn down to make way for a new affordable housing project led by St. Vincent de Paul. The new complex will be called The Myrtlewood, and it’s scheduled for completion by October 2018.

For more than 30 years ShelterCare has partnered with the Springfield Church of the Brethren, who owns the building, to provide housing and services for people in crisis. The Brethren apartments are currently part of ShelterCare’s Supported Housing program for adults with severe and persistent mental illness.

Lizzy Cyrus is a ShelterCare QHMA (Qualified Mental Health Associate) who has been working with the Brethren apartments residents since January 2016 to explore housing options and create personalized transition plans. She says the feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s a fresh start for them,” she says. “Everybody is moving forward into having a new home that matches with their life goals, and all residents are in charge of where they go.”

Lizzy also shares that many residents were pleased to find more housing options available to them now, because living at Brethren and working with ShelterCare has helped them to build a positive rental history and good tenant track record.

Dale Seese is a longtime member of the Springfield Church of the Brethren. According to Dale, developing the property has been the plan from the beginning. It took a long time to find the funding. “We were putting out feelers for many years,” he says.

The church and its nonprofit arm, Brethren Community Services (BCS), partnered with ShelterCare in 2010 to develop another property on the site, which is now the Afiya Apartments for participants in ShelterCare’s Supported Housing program.

For the Myrtlewood project, The Springfield Church of the Brethren and BCS are partnering with St. Vincent de Paul and Mainstream Housing. Nora Cronin is the project developer for St. Vincent de Paul and the lead on the project. She says The Myrtlewood will be a four-story building with 35 one-bedroom apartments.

Eight units at The Myrtlewood will be designated for adults with developmental disabilities, and the other 27 units will be affordable housing for households at or below 50 percent of the area median income. St. Vincent de Paul will manage the property. Nora says a waiting list will be opened as the project gets closer to completion.

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