Wheaton Franciscan Sisters transferring affordable housing portfolio

Mercy Housing will take over properties

Jefferson Court Apartments

Franciscan Ministries, a division of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, plans to transfer its affordable housing property portfolio to Chicago-based Mercy Housing.

Jefferson Court Apartments
Jefferson Court Apartments

The transfer is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2016 and will include Franciscan Ministries’ current 2,620 units of housing in addition to the pending acquisition of another 1,200 units in eight states.

The majority of these properties are based in Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin.

Mercy will continue running the properties the way the Franciscan Ministries have and residents will not be disrupted, said Mark Angelini, president, Mercy Housing Lakefront. The properties are split between senior and family housing, Angelini said.

“Mercy’s mission is to provide housing that is affordably priced and pays attention to service needs,” Angelini said.“The intent is a continuation of the existing mission.”

Mercy Housing is currently constructing the Greenwich Park Apartments at 2353 N. Farwell Ave. The 54-unit building will be a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments.

Some of the properties Mercy Housing will acquire through the Franciscan Ministries transfer include The 224-unit Saxony Manor, 1876 22nd Ave., Kenosha;  221-unit Jefferson Court, 415 E. Knapp St., Milwaukee; and 40-unit  Marian Housing Center, 4105 Spring St., Racine.

The news comes the same day as Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Glendale, announced it would join St. Louis-based Ascension, the largest Catholic health care system in the country and parent company to Milwaukee-based Columbia St. Mary’s health system.

Angelini doesn’t believe the transactions are related, rather driven by the Franciscan Ministries looking to the future and wanting to make sure the properties would be placed in hands with a similar mission.

John Oliverio, President and CEO of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare said as the Wheaton Franciscan Sister looked for the best way to assure their mission would endure; it became clear they should seek out an optimal organization for these units.

“The organizations we are joining will provide the necessary vision, resources and stability to position each ministry for success,” Oliverio said.

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