Who we are
Upgrade was created in the summer of 1969 as a response to the displacement of low and moderate income families whose housing was scheduled to be demolished on Peoria's south side. Upgrade raised nearly a quarter million in cash and pledges from concerned businesses and individuals in the community.
Within its first year, Upgrade began construction of Pierson Hills, an one and two bedroom complex with a community center. The complex opened in 1971. Upgrade eventually acquired Lincoln Terrace, a property that features 33 duplexes and four townhouse buildings.
Upgrade currently owns and manages 300 units in the city of Peoria and is one of only a few remaining, private, not-for-profit housing corporations still in existence in Downstate Illinois.
We have become a leader in our community as we endeavor to provide housing and supportive services to our residents.
In addition to housing services, Upgrade has created and put into action several self sustaining outreach programs, including Home Ownership, Scholarship, After School Programs, rental rehabilitation and emergency housing.
It is an honor for us to celebrate 50 years of service in the Peoria area and we look forward to the next 50.
What we do
HOME OWNERSHIP PROGRAMS
We offer two Home Ownership programs, which gives low-income families an opportunity to become homeowners. Our programs provide pre-counseling, such as budget planning and participation in neighborhood activities. Families will learn maintenance skills including minor repairs, painting and landscaping.
Provides services that are designed to bridge the relationship between management and residents providing counseling, recreational and educational activities for youth, neighborhood crime prevention, health care, and referral service through networking with other social service agencies as a means of addressing the needs of our residents.
Several two, three and four bedroom units are used to provide temporary housing for homeless families until permanent living accommodations can be found. Families receive supportive service assistance to help them find solutions. The program is supported by social service agencies. Families are required to pay 50% of rental charge.
Upgrade partners with local and state resources to acquires and rehab properties. The units are then rented to low and moderate income families.
MARILOU PUTNAM SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
Created in 1988, our scholarship is given to deserving students who lives in one of the Upgrade properties. The purpose of the scholarship foundation is to inspire hope and to motivate our high school juniors and seniors. Award recipients are selected based on the following criteria: Grade Point Average, financial need of the family, community service, attendance and academic transcripts, college/trade school acceptance, essay and recommendation provided by school counselor, minister and/or teachers.
Upgrade provides technical support to church groups, housing groups, civic organizations and social service agencies. Our primary purpose is to meet the housing needs of low and moderate income families. Upgrade offers seminars and workshops that emphasis the need for affordable housing in order to keep housing issues at the forefront of community conversations.
RENTAL ASSISTED HOUSING
Upgrade provides federally subsidized rental housing to low and moderate income families through FHA 236 and the Section 8 Program. Upgrade has approximately 300 units from one to five bedrooms. Families are required to pay no more than 30% of their adjusted income for rent.