In 1982, Michel and Lilo Salmon founded Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) to provide practical housing services to low-income seniors in Chicago. Michel Salmon's legacy of improving the lives of the older adults in Chicago can be traced back to 1959 when he founded Little Brothers of the Poor in the United States (which was later renamed Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly).
Together, Michel and Lilo continued to contribute to the remarkable success of Little Brothers until recognizing the overwhelming need for affordable housing alternatives for the growing population of low-income seniors.
Motivated to provide such comprehensive and hands-on housing services and programs, the Salmons started a new organization. Working with other individuals passionate about this worthy cause, H.O.M.E. began finding affordable housing for displaced seniors, and began providing moving services and household furnishings to those who needed them.
The Salmon's vision of an affordable housing alternative eventually took the form of intergenerational living - a progressive idea based upon the concept that it is beneficial for older adults to live among people of all ages in a community setting. H.O.M.E.'s intergenerational housing model combines seniors with families and young adults in a cooperative community setting. With the founding of the Pat Crowley House in 1983, H.O.M.E. became the first organization in Chicago to provide a facility that created an intentional intergenerational environment. This strong belief that intergenerational experiences help build a family-like atmosphere where everyone involved benefits continues to be a major goal of H.O.M.E., and is now accepted as a best-practice model for other facilities serving seniors.
H.O.M.E. has continually increased its capacity to provide access to affordable other programs and services to low-income seniors in Chicago:
- In 1991, H.O.M.E. began offering free shopping transportation to residents of senior citizen buildings in Chicago.
- In 1994, H.O.M.E. opened the Nathalie Salmon House, a 54-unit intergenerational community.
- In 1997, H.O.M.E. increased the shopping program's capacities through the purchase of a second shopping bus.
- In 1998, H.O.M.E. increased its ability to provide volunteer opportunities through establishing a postion for a Volunteer Coordinator.
- In 2000, H.O.M.E. increased the moving program's capacities through the purchase of a second full-size moving truck.
- In 2001, H.O.M.E. introduced the Upkeep and Repair Program that provides assistance to elderly homeowners in Chicago.
- And also in 2001, H.O.M.E. partnered with the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Department on Aging to provide assistance and support to approximately 9,000 elderly CHA residents being relocated during the Senior Housing Rehabilitation Initiative.
- In 2004, H.O.M.E. renovated and opened Blackhawk Manor, an 8-unit apartment building for independent seniors.
- In 2005 through 2008, H.O.M.E. introduced the Home Again Program that transitions seniors who no longer need to be in nursing homes back into the community through securing new housing and identifying services they need to live independently.
- In 2008, H.O.M.E. added a third Home Repair Specialist and van to the Home Upkeep and Repair Program.
- In 2010, H.O.M.E. partnered with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services/Senior Services-Area Agency on Aging, with the generous support of the Chicago Community Trust, to offer BenefitsCheckUps to seniors in its program and in communities throughout Chicago.
- In 2013, H.O.M.E. extended our Upkeep & Repair program by partnering with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to become a delegate agency of the Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors program, which provides safety, security and accessibility improvements that help senior citizens to remain in their homes.
- In 2015, H.O.M.E. was honored to receive the Make It Better Philanthropy Award for Human Services.
In 2017, H.O.M.E. celebrated its 35th anniversary of providing vital services to the elderly of Chicago. H.O.M.E. continues to accept the charge of its founders knowing that there is still good work to be done.