New affordable housing for veterans coming to West Town

Date: 
10/28/2014
65thInfanRegVARend

Rendering of the 65th Infantry Regiment Veterans Apartments

State support for three new veteran rental housing developments to ensure that Illinois veterans have access to safe, quality and affordable housing was announced by Governor Quinn. One will be in West Town. 

Consisting of 48 units, it will be located near the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 820 S. Damen Ave., and on the grounds of Norwegian American Hospital (NAH), 1044 North Francisco Ave. It will Richmond between Cortez and Thomas, it is Currently the site of two employee parking lots. 

NAH donated property through a 99-year land lease to the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation (HHDC), a move that symbolizes a long-term, shared commitment to Chicago veterans and their quality of life. 

The property will be used to construct a four-story brick and masonry apartment complex, with elevators, to accommodate veterans and their families. The first floor will provide individual counseling rooms as well as classroom/meeting space and a business center with computers. There will be an on-site manager. 

The complex will be named the 65th Infantry Regiment Veterans Apartments in honor of the Borinqueneers, an all-volunteer Puerto Rican unit in the 3rd Division of the United States Army. Groundbreaking is scheduled for February 2015. 

NAH will provide on-site support for the complex which will be comprised of a clinical case manager, an asset development coordinator and a part-time clinical counselor. Norwegian American staff will coordinate services with the tenants and maintain responsibility for linking tenants to other resources within the hospital and the community. 

“We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have protected our way of life and freedom. One way we can say ‘thank you’ to them is by assuring that these brave men and women have a healthy quality of life,” said José R. Sánchez, NAH President and CEO. "Norwegian American Hospital welcomes the fact that the federal government has approved funding for veteran services which include hospitals that are not VA hospitals. Out of $16 billion, $5 billion has been approved to develop relationships with non-veteran, public and private, hospitals.”  

The other two sites are Melrose Park Veterans’ Village, on unused lots around Westlake Community Hospital in Melrose Park and Hope Manor Joliet (Phase III) within walking distance of the new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “Veterans Clinic” in Joliet. 

“Those of us on the home-front need to take care of our service members who have borne the battle,” Governor Quinn said. ”That means making sure our veterans have access to job opportunities, education and safe and affordable housing. New housing units for our veterans will help ensure our heroes have the comforts of home they deserve. Our commitment to affordable housing for service members is part of what makes Illinois the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to three affordable housing developments that will collectively provide 150 new rental apartments for Illinois’ service members and their families. These new housing developments, in partnership with non-profit and private organizations, will help address challenges that many of today’s veterans face such as disabilities and homelessness.

Under the direction of Governor Quinn, IHDA has made veteran housing a priority by tailoring the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program to give preference to proposed developments that serve veterans, provide supportive services and have a commitment for rental assistance.

“Our newly approved veteran developments demonstrate our commitment to creating housing that provides stability and support for our veterans to successfully transition back into civilian life,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “These new options aim to create a comprehensive housing solution to meet all veteran needs, from affordable housing to job training and education assistance.” 

An estimated 1,260 veterans experienced homelessness on any given night in Illinois in 2013. Further, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 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. This makes developments suited for veteran’s needs, like the ones announced by Governor Quinn and IHDA, critical.

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