Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday touted the opening of a brand-new, $23.5 million affordable apartment complex for homeless veterans—and those at risk of homelessness—on the city's South Side.
Emanuel cut the red ribbon at Hope Manor II Apartments, a 73-unit "housing and supportive services complex" in the Englewood neighborhood, alongside U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (a fellow high-profile Illinois Democrat running for re-election) and 16th Ward Ald. JoAnn Thompson.
"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," declared the mayor. "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."
Chiming in, Durbin added: "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."
One of Emanuel's lofty goals for 2015—the year Chicagoans decide whether to elect the polarizing boss to a second term in office—is to completely wipe out homelessness among veterans, a pledge previously made by President Barack Obama. His newly minted city budget earmarks $800,000-plus toward subsidized housing for needy vets; meanwhile, the U.S. government will foot over 80 percent of the $5 million in annual costs required to pull off a project like Hope Manor.
Aforementioned "supportive services" include job training and counseling for mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder.