Gov. Pat Quinn joined local leaders and volunteers on Thursday in breaking ground on a new housing development in Chicago for female veterans with children, the second of its kind dedicated to serving homeless veterans in the city.
The complex will be built on 2.3 acres of land at 61st and Halsted streets in the Englewood neighborhood.
The land for Hope Manor II, which will house 73 veterans and their families, was donated by the City of Chicago. The two housing projects in the city are meant to provide opportunities for job training, family counseling and health care.
According to Volunteers of America, which will develop the property, 6- to 8 percent of homeless veterans are women, and as many as 175 women, most with children, are homeless in Chicago each night. The new complex will have studio apartments, one, two, or three bedroom apartments and four bedroom town homes.
“My father served in the military for 3 years 1 month and 15 days,” Quinn said at a groundbreaking ceremony. “He taught me and my three other brothers how important it is to honor the ones who have went to battle. President Lincoln said that it is our duty to take care of our veterans. The heart of America is the heart of a volunteer; the heart of Illinois is the heart of a volunteer. Helping people is the rent we pay for staying on God’s green Earth.
Quinn, a Democrat, was joined by Nancy Moyer, president of the Illinois Chapter of Volunteers of America, Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) and Chicago Housing Authority CEO Charles Woodward.
“Freedom is not free,” Woodward. “The price is enormous.”
The project’s ultimate goal is to provide opportunities for veterans to rebuild their lives.
Thompson said too often veterans get the short-end of the stick.
“All my life, it has seemed like war veterans have gotten the short end of the stick on life,” Thompson said. “They have a little joke downtown during the meetings saying that I always fight for the homeless, for war veterans, it is because it is my job. I don’t know, maybe it is because I have been there before that I know how it feels, that’s why I fight for them.”
Meredith Kavanagh contributed to this story.