You Can Go Home Again

By Alexander Germanis

In life, change occurs whether we like it or not. It is inevitable. People grow up and move away, old stores and restaurants close while new ones are established, and neighborhoods grow, shrink, and even disappear. With such change comes the likelihood that those places we once called home will disappear as well.

Some residents on the southside of Peoria have certainly said farewell to their old homes, but as each has settled into Southside Manor Apartments, they have found they have never really left their homes at all—they have simply re-found them.



Even Southside Manor Site Manager Carrie Schupp has experienced the return to home, as it were. Born and raised in the Peoria area, she headed south to attend college, start a career, and raise a family in Miami. Eventually, however, she was called back home so her parents could see their grandkids grow.

Finding her career’s new path seemed an obvious one at that point. “I have a background in business management,” Carrie says. “So, in 2008, when there was a position here at Southside, I applied for it.”

First working as the rental coordinator, Carrie was promoted to site manager when the old manager retired. “I’ve been here almost 15 years,” she states. “I’ve learned a lot about the community. I had never worked with the elderly before this. It’s been a totally different, good learning experience.”

Catering to those 62 and older—or 18 and older in the case of those benefitting from the features of a mobility-accessible unit—meant learning about the needs and wants of a retirement community. Although Southside Manor is independent living and not assisted living or nursing care, Carrie says, “You still do whatever you can to help them.”

For many of the residents, simply being home is all they need, and Southside Manor is that return to home for many of them. “A lot of the residents grew up in this area,” Carrie shares. “They lived around here, so the area is still home to them. A lot of them grew up in the neighborhoods, had their houses here. They are the locals of the southside of Peoria.”


Staying Active

For those who need a little more than just a place to call home, Carrie says they do what they can to keep the Southside Manor residents active. “We do Bingo twice a month—they really like the Bingo—we do little lunches, and movie days,” she says. “For Christmas, we’ll have a Christmas dinner. On certain holidays, we do a gathering and put together little luncheons.”

But many of the residents still remain very active without any help. Although nearly every resident is retired, many of them remain busy with volunteer work. One resident is a foster parent for pets, working with the appropriately named PAWS: Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter. Another works with his grandson in running a landscaping company. Many others are very busy watching their grand- and great-grandchildren.

“They go out and about. It’s independent living, so they do their own thing,” Carrie adds. “You would think it would be a quiet place, but they’re all very active. It’s busy, but it’s not hectic.”


What Southside Manor Offers

Because it is an independent living retirement community, one would think Southside Manor is little more than an age-exclusive apartment complex. This is not wholly the case, as Carrie indicates.

Even though they do not serve meals, Southside Manor does partner with Meals on Wheels, giving them access to their kitchen so the meals they deliver can be prepared and warmed on-site before going to the respective recipients. For those who still like to cook for themselves, however, Southside offers weekly trips to the grocery store.

A community room occupied with three televisions and a pleasant gazebo area outside are popular gathering places for the residents. Two laundry rooms also flank the community room.

All of the 100 apartments are 500 square feet, each with its own full kitchen, and central air conditioning and heating. Each is equipped with an intercom system allowing the residents to buzz in their guests without the need to go down in person to let them into the secured building.

With only the main entrance to the building, Southside is a safe place to live. Residents also enjoy the watchful care of security on guard every evening starting at 5pm and running until 8:30am in the morning, with 24-hour watches on weekends.

For the mobility-impaired, their units also feature wider doorways, lowered cabinetry and countertops, and safety rails and grab bars, specifically in the bathrooms.


Cost of Living

       It’s no surprise the cost of living has increased dramatically in the last three years. Finding an affordable place to live has become more and more difficult. At Southside Manor, however, they operate with the aid of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“With HUD, your cost of rent is based on 30 percent of your adjusted gross income,” Carrie explains. “So, seniors can actually afford to have an apartment. They don’t have to worry about going to regular housing; they have affordable housing here. So, if someone only gets the minimum Social Security Income, they can still afford to live here.”

At times, Carrie reveals, they have had zero-income residents. The only proviso is even residents with no income must still provide the cost for their own utilities.

As if that’s not enough of a motivation, right now Southside Manor is offering a move-in incentive. After paying the first month’s rent and security deposit, that first month’s rent is reimbursed. “They can come in and pay it and I give it right back,” Carrie chuckles.

Another incentive is the increased limits on pets. Residents are free to own a dog up to 50 pounds in weight or two cats. There is a $250 pet deposit—waived for service animals; but as long as residents keep the pet’s annual shots up to date, the little furry residents are welcome to call Southside Manor home.


Care One Only Gets at Home

Southside Manor may be the home for more than 100 residents, but even staff members like Carrie have felt a warmth beyond what is felt in a normal apartment building setting. “I’ve been here a long time, so I’ve known a lot of the residents for a long time,” she says. “They come and go and unfortunately some of the older ones have passed away or moved in with family because they need a little more help. But I build relationships with them. It’s good to come in every day.”

Carrie’s experience at Southside Manor has been such a positive one, she, like the residents, sees no reason to seek for change. “I’m very content there,” she points out. “I like the environment. It’s more than likely I’ll be here until retirement.”

While change is inevitable, for all those who reside at Southside Manor Apartments, they have endeavored to find a home in the community. But they have ended up finding family as well.

“It’s a safe, close community,” Carrie confirms. “We watch out for everybody. We take care of each other.”


Southside Manor Apartments is located at 915 South Helen Street in Peoria, Illinois. If you are interested in seeing how we can be either your new home or the home for a loved one, please call us at (309) 676-5087 or visit us on the web at



More Posts

Scroll to top