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Veterans’ housing proposed in Joliet

Volunteers of America has plan for old Silver Cross campus

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 5:00 a.m. CST

NEW LENOX, Ill. — Volunteers of America — Illinois has submitted a proposal to the city of Joliet to construct and operate a multifamily housing complex for U.S. military veterans and their families on the former Silver Cross Hospital campus.

This project will complement the new Veteran’s Outpatient Clinic opening in spring 2013 as part of the campus redevelopment plan.

The proposed project — named Hope Manor Apartments Joliet — will consist of three multi-story buildings surrounding a large recreational green space and community park at the southwest corner of Copperfield Avenue and North Hebbard Street.

The project will provide 88,000 square feet of supportive housing for up to 78 veterans and their families through a variety of rental apartments. Included will be 30 one-bedroom units, 18 two-bedroom units, and 24 three-bedroom units.

If approved by the city and state, residents could move in as soon as January 2015.

The city of Joliet Land Use Committee was to review the project today, Jan. 10. Tonight at 6 p.m., the city is hosting a neighborhood meeting for VOA to present details and answer questions about the veteran’s housing project.

Founded in 1896, Volun-teers of America is one of the country’s oldest and largest human service organizations, serving more than 2 million people every year in 400 communities throughout the United States.

VOA is the largest non-profit provider and developer of high-quality, safe, affordable housing, with more than 23,000 units across the country, including Marycrest Village, a 60-unit supportive housing development for low-income seniors in Joliet.

“We believe that having a permanent place to call home is a critical component to helping struggling veterans lead stable and productive lives,” said Nancy Hughes,  president of Volunteers of American of Illinois.

“This new complex will provide area Veterans and their families with permanent housing.”

Proven Track Record  

VOA was one of the first human service organizations to partner with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to address the growing problem of homelessness among veterans after the Vietnam War. It continues to be a leader in responding to the challenges facing returning veterans.

VOA of Illinois currently serves more than 500 veterans every year through its True North Project, a comprehensive program designed to help all Veterans achieve stability and reach their full potential.

Hope Manor Apartments on the westside of Chicago provides housing and supportive services to 80 veterans. The $14.5 million project was completed in 2011 and is 100 percent occupied.

Hope Manor II Apart-ments, located on the south side of Chicago, will be home to more than 70 veterans with families. The $23 million project, built on land donated by the city, used LIHTC for construction and will be open in late 2013.

The proposed $20 million Hope Manor III project on the east side of Joliet will be built on 3.21 acres of land donated by Silver Cross.

“We are excited about this project, as VOA has the expertise and a proven track record in delivering high-quality, safe, permanent housing for veteran’s across America,” said Margie Woods, chairperson of the Silver Cross Health Community Commission.

“This project makes perfect sense considering the other redevelopment initiatives currently underway with the VA and Aunt Martha’s on the Joliet campus.”

Taking Shape

In addition to the proposed veterans housing, the Department of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of renovating the former Silver Cross Hospital Emergency Department to open a new 60,000-square-foot Veterans Outpatient Clinic in Spring 2013.

Area veterans will have convenient access to new and enhanced outpatient services, including women’s health, home-based primary care, laboratory, mental health and social work, pharmacy, physical therapy and rehabilitation, retinal imaging, nutrition, geriatrics, and telehealth.

Just east of the Veteran’s Outpatient Clinic, Aunt Martha’s Youth Services is building a 20,000-square-foot Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC).

The Joliet Community Health Center will also open in 2013, offering primary care, dental services, and behavioral health services to the residents on the eas side of Joliet.

“We are delighted that the former Silver Cross Hospital campus is being put to good use to provide much needed services to area residents including our country’s veterans,” says Paul Pawlak, president and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital.

“We made a commitment that when we relocated that hospital that we would make sure that we would leave the property in good hands — and we are doing just that!”

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