History

The South Side Office of Concern (SSOC) was founded in 1982 as an agency that would feed the hungry and provide information and referral to help neighborhood members improve their lives.   The agency ran the food pantry based at St. Patrick Catholic Church which later became the Peoria Anti-Hunger Coalition.

Image of SSOC Supporters in front of Phoenix House

Initially supported by the American Board of Catholic Missions, SSOC incorporated in March of 1985 and first received funding from the Heart of Illinois United Way in 1986. That funding provided case management and payeeship services for people with disabilities. Growth continued and the agency began receiving funding for mental health services from the Illinois Department of Human Services. In 1989, the agency secured funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and purchased its first house to begin a community housing program.   Throughout the 1990s, permanent supportive housing offerings continued to expand with the acquisition of additional houses and the opening of Phoenix House for 30 adult males with mental health issues.  An employment program began in 1996 to complement the growing agency’s identified gaps in its services.

""By 1999, a future residential site for homeless adults with a disability was being discussed. In 2008, those discussions came to fruition when New Hope Apartments opened – doubling the agency’s community housing capacity.  When the YWCA Peoria was forced to close its doors in 2012, SSOC was asked to step in and take over the organization’s housing programs.  In 2013, SSOC acquired a new office building to accommodate a growing staff and expanded program offerings.   In 2014 Veterans Haven, an adult living center for homeless vets with a mental illness, opened.  In 2016 an expansion to SSOC’s Glendale Commons permanent supportive housing increased residential units at the site from 12 to 28 and provided the area’s first housing specifically designated to serve homeless couples.   In 2016, the agency also launched the first outreach program targeting the area’s homeless population.  Today, with 148 units of housing, the South Side Office of Concern is the largest agency dedicated to ending homelessness in central Illinois.

Learn more about the history of SSOC – Full History of SSOC