Local News

McHenry County Housing Authority finds new, bigger location in Crystal Lake

New building in Crystal Lake costs $1.1 million, is about 15,400 square feet in size

The McHenry County Housing Authority closed on a new property earlier this month where it will move its headquarters to. The location, pictured here, is at 1125 Mitchell Court in Crystal Lake.

The McHenry County Housing Authority has found a new home and will be leaving Woodstock for Crystal Lake later this summer.

The agency, which has been in its current spot off Route 47 since 1987, closed on a new property in Crystal Lake earlier this month and hopes to move into its new home by mid-August.

The new spot, at 1125 Mitchell Court in Crystal Lake, is about 15,400 square feet, which Executive Director Kim Ulbrich said will serve as a much-improved workspace. The building, in addition to having warehouse space, will have conference and meeting rooms and a designated lunch space.

“It’s definitely better and more efficient for us,” she said. “It’ll be a better working space. People will have room. It’ll be a lot more functional.”

The McHenry County Housing Authority is a state-chartered entity that aims to help low-income families and individuals find housing in the county. It is funded through grants and has participated in disabled and low-income housing projects and rental assistance programs since its inception in 1947, according to its website.

The authority began looking at spots earlier this year because of the constraints of the current space. When the housing authority moved into its current location in 1987, it had 16 employees. Now with 30, its home in Woodstock has prevented it from growing, officials have said.

The space constraints led to one department working remotely and another working out of one of the authority’s apartment buildings, Ulbrich said. Parking also was limited.

Now, the new space creates the possibility of adding new staff, which could lead to more programming, Ulbrich said.

“We could not expand here at all,” Ulbrich said.

The McHenry County Housing Authority's current facility at 1108 N Seminary Ave. in Woodstock, pictured Thursday, April 14, 2022, is no longer suitable for the organization as it is too small for its 30 staff members to work in. The organization as a result is looking for a new place to set up its offices.

Finding a new location was easier said than done, as there weren’t many options available in the area that fit the size they were looking for, Ulbrich said. After gathering a list of a handful of places, the organization narrowed it down to two.

Those were the new location they’ve chosen and one in Woodstock, which was significantly more expensive, Ulbrich said. The chosen space cost about $1.1 million.

That money was fronted by McHenry County, with part of the total coming from a grant from the Advance McHenry County program, which allocates federal COVID-19 relief dollars locally. When the current building in Woodstock is sold, that money will be returned to the county.

The current location is expected to go on the market within the next month or so, Ulbrich said. While that goes on, some renovations of the new building and the relocation of staff will take place, she said.

While leaving Woodstock was something the organization was worried about, that concern has given way to excitement, Ulbrich said. It’s also made easier because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the organization to see fewer people come into the office physically.

“We’ve been here a really long time and it’s been a good place to be,” Ulbrich said. “I really don’t think the location is as big of a factor. … It’ll be new. We’re very much looking forward to it.”