CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - The new Chicago Veterans' Home opened on Veterans Day.
Governor JB Pritzker joined Senator Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Capital Development Board on Wednesday, November 11 for the opening.
“As the proud son and grandson of Naval officers, I have a very personal commitment to Illinois' nearly 650,000 veterans,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “One of my earliest actions as governor was to undertake the restart of the first Illinois Veterans' Home directly serving the Chicagoland area, as well as building a new state-of-the-art facility to replace the aging facility in Quincy. It’s my mission that Illinois will provide every possible support for our military men and women, their families and our veterans – those who have made sacrifice upon sacrifice so all of us can live free.”
The home is the first state veterans' retirement facility to open in 20 years and the first to serve the Chicagoland area. It will accommodate 200 retired Illinois veterans.
Previously, the closest veterans' homes were in Manteno and LaSalle.
“I’m so grateful that our dream of opening this Veterans Home is finally a reality and despite everything going on, we’re able to be together to celebrate Veterans Day,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. “Our Veterans have sacrificed the unimaginable for the rest of us, putting country over self and redefining bravery time after time, tour after tour. It’s on us to make sure we don’t just pat our Veterans on the backs on Veterans Day—but honor them on the other 364 days of the year, too. That means expanding access to safe, affordable housing because we are all dishonored when any Veteran is forced lay their head down to sleep on the same streets they defended.”
The new 187,000 square foot, five-story facility is located on the northwest side of Chicago and embraces the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Community Living Center guidelines, which advocate a culture change from a medical model to a resident centered model of care. Unlike many nursing homes of the past, a community living center resembles a family home as much as possible.
The architecture of the Chicago Veterans' Home supports this resident focus by creating 16 total “households.” Four of the households are specifically dedicated to residents with dementia care needs. Each floor is outfitted with original artwork in the form of colorful murals by local artist Indira Johnson.