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November 7, 2007

Blagojevich Administration officials cut ribbon on groundbreaking program to help disabled, homeless veterans
Pilot program looks to provide permanent housing, medical assistance and job training for disabled vets

MANTENO – As Veterans Day nears, Blagojevich Administration officials today hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Prince Home at Manteno – a first-in-the-nation pilot program to help disabled, homeless veterans in Illinois. The program is designed to provide permanent housing for homeless and disabled veterans, including veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Our veterans have put their lives on the line serving our country.  They deserve the best care and opportunities when they return home.  Here in Illinois, we are not going to let our veterans fall through the cracks without the medical care or help they need.  The Prince Home at Manteno will serve as model for the rest of the nation in terms of providing housing, medical assistance, and job training to help our disabled and homeless veterans,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Deputy Governor Louanner Peters, IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth, Capital Development Board Deputy Director Jim Riemer, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Assistant Director of Multifamily Programs Stephen Gladden, as well as numerous other state and local officials, and Veterans organizations, attended the open house of the Prince Home at Manteno today.
“The men and women who have served in uniform have fought for our freedoms so that we can live out our dreams.  We need to make sure that we give them the same opportunities that they have allowed us to have, including access to healthcare, jobs, and affordable housing,” said IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth. “This new Prince Home is one more example of the leadership the State of Illinois has shown in caring for our veterans.”
Homelessness is a crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of veterans across the nation. According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) estimates, nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night around the nation, and nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. 
Although a majority of veterans are single, local providers across the country are reporting an increasing number of veterans with children who are seeking assistance.  Most homeless veterans come from poor communities, and more than 45 percent suffer from a mental illness, according to the U.S. DVA.  A large number of at-risk veterans also live with post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions acquired during – or exacerbated by – their military service.
The Prince Home at Manteno will provide quality housing, advocacy, therapeutic and supportive services to 15 veterans who cannot live independently.  The program will be staffed by a program director, a caseworker, two addiction counselors, and one psychiatric nurse.  Seventy-five percent of the veterans in the program will be homeless individuals referred by federal VA medical centers and IDVA officers.  The additional 25 percent of residents will be homeless veterans referred by the Veterans’ Assistance Commission and community providers.
“It is an honor to be part of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ team in ensuring all Illinois veterans get optimum supportive services, enabling them to continue on with their lives with dignity and integrity,” added Deanna Mackey, Program Director, Prince Home at Manteno.
The Prince Home at Manteno has single dwelling units equipped with semi-private bathrooms and kitchenettes, new carpet, laundry facilities and other improvements for its residents.  The program will offer on-site medical assistance, job training and all the other services available to those who currently reside at the Manteno Home.
The construction of the Prince Home at Manteno was funded through $1,366,000 in state and federal grants and has been implemented by IDVA.  The Program will help keep homeless veterans – 60 percent of whom spend time in prison – out of incarceration facilities.
“Under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) allocated $816,000 from the State Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help make the Prince Home a reality for America’s true heroes, our veterans,” said IHDA Executive Director DeShana L. Forney. “Prince Homes gives our veterans the independence to live in safe, affordable housing and address the unique housing needs in Manteno’s communities.”
“I am proud to be a part of Governor Blagojevich’s commitment to the long-term care of our veterans.  This facility at Manteno will provide our heroes with the atmosphere and services they deserve,” said Capital Development Board Executive Director Jan Grimes.
The Prince Home at Manteno will officially open in the coming months and will help provide housing and supportive services for 15 disabled, homeless Illinois veterans.  To find out more or to summit an application for The Prince Home at Manteno, visit IDVA’s website at http://www.state.il.us/agency/dva/homes/ or call (815) 468-6581 ext. 355.   


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