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Veterans housing proposed for old Silver Cross site

Midge Pittman CEO The Shepard's Place  stands front former Silver Cross Hospital Joliet IL Tuesday November 27 2012. Pittman's

Midge Pittman, CEO of The Shepard's Place, stands in front of the former Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, IL on Tuesday November 27, 2012. Pittman's group wants to create a full-service, live-in social service center at the old Silver Cross Hospital for battered women, pregnant teens, substance abusers and more. They've been handed the task of raising $6 million by the end of the year before Silver Cross will consider the idea. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Shepherd’s Place short of funding goal

JOLIET — The group that wants to put a live-in social service center in vacated buildings at Silver Cross Hospital’s old Joliet campus fell far short of its fundraising goal.

The Shepherd’s Place has raised about $10,000 in the past month, a fraction of the improbable goal of getting $6 million by Dec. 31 to meet a Silver Cross deadline.

Midge Pittman, who is leading the project, said the group has not given up its hopes for the vacated Joliet campus and will base The Shepherd’s Place elsewhere if denied by Silver Cross.

“We’re not going to stop,” Pittman said. “We believe this is what we’re called to do to make a difference in the community.”

A spokeswoman for Silver Cross said the hospital has not heard from Shepherd’s Place in recent weeks.

Pittman said she will contact the hospital again in the coming week after hearing details about a few other potential donations.

The Shepherd’s Place group does not provide any services now. The group has set up a website to describe its plans and to solicit donations at shepherdsplacejoliet.com.

Updated: February 4, 2013 2:46PM



JOLIET — Volunteers of America wants to build apartments for veterans on land at the vacated Silver Cross Hospital campus.

The plan calls for as many as 72 apartments in three buildings to be constructed on land on the hospital campus, according to an announcement about the project.

The apartments could open as soon as January 2015 with city and state approval, the proponents say.

Details about the proposal will be presented at 6 p.m. Jan. 10 during a community meeting at city hall.

Volunteers of America is a nonprofit, social service agency based in Alexandria, Va. and has an office in Chicago. VOA of Illinois now provides housing for 580 veterans in two developments in Chicago. The group first became involved in housing for homeless veterans after the Vietnam War, according to the announcement from VOA and Silver Cross.

“This new complex will provide area veterans and their families with permanent housing,” Nancy Hughes, president of VOA of Illinois, said in a prepared statement.

Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas said the group became interested in Joliet because of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs megaclinic being built in a redevelopment project at the former hospital emergency center.

“It’s a natural fit,” Thanas said. “It (the campus) already has a strong VA presence.”

Thanas said the city would need to review a development plan for approval. He said VOA has applied to the state for certain financial incentives or grants to make the project possible.

The Joliet City Council land use committee will review the proposal on Jan. 10. The development plan eventually would have to be approved by the full city council.

The apartments would be built on the southwest corner of Copperfield Avenue and North Hebbard Street.

The project, named Manor Apartments Joliet, would include three multistory buildings surrounding recreational green space and a community park, according to the announcement.

It will provide 88,000 square feet of housing with 30 one-bedroom apartments, 18 two-bedroom units, and 24 three-bedroom apartments.

VOA has two veteran residential complexes in Chicago: True North Project and Hope Manor Apartments. The organization is in the process of building Hope Manor II Apartments in Chicago for another 70 veterans and family members.

In the statement announcing the project, Margie Woods, chairperson of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, which has been looking for new uses for the Joliet hospital campus, said VOA has expertise “in delivering high-quality, safe, permanent housing” for veterans.

Silver Cross Hospital moved from the Joliet campus in February to a new hospital in New Lenox.

Both the Veterans Affairs megaclinic and a new community health center being built by Aunt Martha’s are scheduled to open in the spring on the Joliet campus.



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