Campus-Style Community Designed to Serve Veterans with Families Now Open in Chicago
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–October 17, 2014. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the opening of Hope Manor II, one of the first large-scale housing developments in the nation designed to address the needs of female veterans and veterans with families at risk of homelessness. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) provided approximately $1 million in funding to finance the development located at 60th and Halsted streets in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make Illinois the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.
“Hope Manor II is not only about housing, it is about helping our veterans get a job, keep a job and provide for their families,” Governor Quinn said. “We have a duty on the homefront to take care of our heroes and protect those who protected us especially when it comes to jobs, education and housing. For all they have sacrificed in the name of freedom, Hope Manor II will give our servicemembers the comforts and safety of home they deserve.”
Developed by the Volunteers of America of Illinois (VOA), Hope Manor II is designed for veterans and their children. It will be home to more than 100 Illinois heroes and family members who were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness. The development will be an important part of the state’s goal to help struggling veterans change and improve their lives over the long-term by promoting self-sufficiency, building new skills, creating strong support networks and integrating veterans more positively into community life.
Services at the campus include employment readiness classes, job training and coaching, computer training, peer support groups, recovery resources, individual and family counseling, mental health screening, emergency assistance for food and household items and case management support. Residents will also have access to the Volunteers of America of Illinois’ True North Project which aids veterans who are struggling, in crisis or at risk of serious instability in their lives.
“This is a great day for our veterans, Chicago businesses and for Illinois,” Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Acting Director Rodrigo Garcia said. “We know that employment and stability for families is critical in helping veterans and those at-risk bridge from the military to a thriving civilian life. Hope Manor II will be a great base for our veterans to find great jobs here in Illinois and help businesses thrive.”
The campus-style community features a mix of single-family town homes and apartments built around a park, all located on a three-acre site donated by the city of Chicago. In addition to state resources, the development also received a $1.9 million loan and a $3 million tax-increment financing grant from the city of Chicago. All 73 apartments will receive Project-Based Rental Assistance from the Chicago Housing Authority.
“We are excited to partner with the Volunteers of America of Illinois to provide the stability and support our veterans need to transition back into civilian life,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Our goal is to provide a comprehensive response to the unique challenges of today’s veterans, delivering the tools they can use to change their lives over the long-term.”
Women veterans and those with dependent children are the fastest growing demographic in the veteran community, often facing significant challenges as they transition to civilian life. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that approximately six to eight percent of all homeless veterans are women and as many as 175 female veterans, most with children, are homeless in Chicago each night. After IHDA provided federal stimulus funds and federal tax credit financing for Hope Manor I to provide housing and services to single veterans, a community to serve families was the next appropriate step.
Since Governor Quinn took office, Illinois has made it a priority to address the need for affordable housing and supportive services. He is the first Governor in Illinois history to dedicate state capital dollars to supportive housing, creating approximately 2,150 community-based supportive housing units since 2009. IHDA has financed 860 units of affordable housing either reserved or specifically targeted to veterans in that same timeframe.