- Published: 01 July 2016
SPRINGFIELD – A five-story, 200 bed veterans home on Chicago’s northwest side has stood vacant and half completed since June of last year. The home became a victim of the Illinois budget impasse. Thankfully, construction is set to resume thanks to Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).
“It’s outrageous that projects like the Chicago Veterans Home ever got caught in the line of fire with the budget impasse,” Mulroe said. “These men and women served their duty to this country, and we can’t get our act together enough to ensure that they have a dedicated facility at their disposal?”
The project broke ground in September of 2014, with a price tag of $70 million, slated to be completed midway through this year. The US Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to reimburse the state for up to 65% of the cost to build the facility. However, when funding for the project was not approved, local residents and veterans began to fear the worst.
The proposal contains the remaining state obligation of $8.5 million. While the state currently operates four other veterans homes, this would be the first facility in Chicago. According to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the Chicago home would offer housing as well specialized medical care for veterans suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“People aren’t bargaining chips. I’ve been working hard for the past year to get things moving on this facility,” Mulroe continued. “I’m angry that this was the way to get this project going, but I am glad to see work begin again.”
SB2047 received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and now goes to the governor.