October 17, 2014

Mayor Emanuel, Senator Durbin, Alderman Thompson, Community Leaders and Veterans of the U.S. Military Open Hope Manor II

Investment Will Help the City Deliver of Mayor Emanuel’s Goal of Ending Homelessness Among Veterans by the End of 2015

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Senator Dick Durbin, Alderman JoAnn Thompson, community leaders and Veterans of the U.S. Military and their families today to open Hope Manor II Apartments, a 73-unit affordable housing and supportive services complex located on the southwest corner of 60th and Halsted streets in Englewood. The $23.5 million campus-style complex developed by Volunteers of America of Illinois, includes a mix of studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments for Veterans who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

“Hope Manor II is a down payment on our promise that if you fight for the homeland of America, you will always have a home here in the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Whether it is housing or health care, educational opportunities or job opportunities, we are making the City of Chicago the gold standard for meeting our obligations to our Veterans and their families.”

Ending veteran homelessness will require nearly $5 million each year to provide subsidized housing, supportive services and other forms of assistance. More than 80 percent of the funding will come from the Federal government. Mayor Emanuel’s 2015 budget will invest more than $800,000 and close the gap on the remaining funding.

“I applaud the opening of this unique facility that will not only provide assistance to Chicago area veterans in need, but their families as well. The rate of homelessness among veterans with families has been increasing by more than 5 percent every year for the past four years -- a troubling trend that makes this project all the more important,” Senator Durbin said. “We have an obligation to see that every person who sacrificed to serve our country has a place to call home and today’s opening is a sign of progress on that front.”

The rate of homelessness among Veterans with families has been increasing by more than five percent every year for the past five years. And female Veterans are becoming a growing percentage of the homeless Veteran population – female Veterans are twice as likely to be homeless as male Veterans and four-times more likely than non-Veteran females to be homeless.

City financial support included the sale of 25 parcels of City-owned land for $1 each, a $1.9 million loan, and $1.6 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $16.7 million in equity for the project.

"Hope Manor II has been a tremendous project for us. When I see the amazing strides we continue to make in the 16th ward, I can only be thankful for our tenacity and steadfast persistence,” said Alderman JoAnn Thompson. “Thank you to Volunteers of America of Illinois and the Mayor for being such great partners in this development."

Additional funding includes an Energy Efficiency Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a Federal Home Loan grant and Supportive Housing Program funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The Hope Manor II development offers a unique and innovative approach to veteran’s housing by combining services to assist these men and women in transforming their lives. The facility includes six six-flats, five townhouses, and a three-story main building containing a community room and social services for veterans suffering from substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. Residents can receive job training, mental health counseling and legal assistance, as well as have the opportunity to be part of a strong support network that will help build self-sufficiency.

Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, the City of Chicago engaged with more than 500 stakeholders in 2012 to develop Plan 2.0 to Prevent and End Homelessness, a broad-ranging, seven-year action that focuses on homeless prevention, housing first and wraparound services while identifying new strategies to improve access and opportunity for those most in need. Since 2012, the City has:

  • Invested $27 million to establish two new permanent supportive housing developments for homeless veterans: Hope Manor II and Veterans New Beginnings in Auburn Gresham (54 units);
  • Provided $1.8 million to build first new domestic violence shelter in more than a decade, now under construction;
  • Invested $2 million to create 74 new year-round shelter beds and a network of four regional drop-in centers for homeless youth, including runaway, LGBTQ, and pregnant and parenting youth;
  • Housed 262 homeless households through the Rapid Rehousing Program.
  • And launched a program to help up to 100 chronically homeless people move from the street to permanent supportive housing in collaboration with the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund and the Center for Housing and Health.

Mayor Emanuel has supported initiatives to keep faith with America’s Veterans throughout his career, including, as a member of Congress, introducing the Welcome Home GI Bill in 2005 and co-sponsoring and helping to pass the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. As chief of staff to President Obama, Mayor Emanuel helped to develop the President’s call to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, and during his tenure as senior advisor to President Clinton, the federal government greatly increased its investment in veterans benefits by increasing the VA's budget by 33 percent between 1993 and 2001.