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NORMAL — Erin Henning showed a guest around the house that she shares with two other women. The tidy ranch looked like many other homes in Normal.

“I like it,” the 34-year-old woman said. “I can do laundry on my own, clean my bedroom and help clean house.”

But Henning gets help with medication management, shopping and transportation to work, appointments and community outings.

Henning has an intellectual disability and is among 17 people who live in four Bloomington-Normal homes operated by Homes of Hope. With 28 full- and part-time employees, Homes of Hope provides housing and 24/7 support (including cooking, money management and hygiene) to adults with developmental disabilities.

The organization is marking the 20th anniversary of its incorporation. Homes of Hope opened its first home at 1570 Hunt Drive, Normal, in 1995.

“Reaching 20 years has taken a lot of determination and heart from the residents and their families, the board and staff, and the founding parents,” said Maureen McIntosh, Homes of Hope executive director and registered nurse.

The organization began in 1992 when a group of parents of adult children with intellectual disabilities met to consider where their children would live when the parents could no longer care for them. Several families were associated with Special People Encounter Christ, a group for people with developmental disabilities.

The Hunt Drive home remains open with six residents. Other homes are at 1311 Townley Road, Bloomington, (four residents); 2 Robinwood Drive, Normal (four residents); and 1207 Spear Drive, Normal (three residents, including Henning). All are owned by Homes of Hope except the Spear Drive home, which is owned by a resident.

Twelve of the 17 residents work, including Henning, who does recycling and janitorial work at the Association of Developmentally Disabled of Woodford County, Eureka.

While some residents moved from state institutions and nursing homes, Henning moved a year ago from a larger group home in Sterling. She prefers the Normal home and being closer to her family.

Most of Homes of Hope’s $880,000 annual operating budget comes from state and federal sources, McIntosh said. While state institutions cost taxpayers about $100,000 per resident, CILAs (community integrated living arrangements) like Homes of Hope’s homes cost about $40,000, she said.

Besides keeping residents safe and active, the organization keeps residents near family members and involved in the community.

“The community has accepted our people and our people have accepted them,” McIntosh said.

Henning gave McIntosh a hug. “You’re the best, Maureen.”

Draw Down

What: 4th annual Homes of Hope Draw Down

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 99, 406 S. Eldorado Road, Bloomington

Why: Largest fundraiser of the year for Homes of Hope. Money raised helps to maintain homes for people with intellectual disabilities.

Cost: $100 includes dinner and drinks for two guests and raffle entry.

For tickets: Call 309-862-0607 or go to

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