CHICAGO — The city is putting a windfall from a settlement with a strip club to use in building a new shelter for families victimized by domestic violence.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday morning that a $4.2 million building would be constructed in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
It is expected to include at least 10 permanent housing suites in which two families share a single bathroom, and it will serve 100 families a year. It will add 40 beds to the city's overall domestic violence shelter total, making 152 citywide when construction is completed in June of next year.
The city is contributing $1.8 million of the $2.5 million it received from a settlement it recently won against the VIP's Gentleman's Club, 1531 N. Kingsbury St., in Lincoln Park after a protracted legal battle.
"Domestic violence is an issue that few want to talk about, but we must address because victims should not have to suffer in silence. It is important that women and families have the support they need to turn the page and take the next step forward in their lives," Emanuel said.
"We will significantly add to the range of resources available in Chicago through this new shelter and provide additional funding for court advocacy services so that women and their families can take the next step forward in their lives," the mayor said.
The shelter is a partnership with the social service agencies Women in Need Growing Stronger, Metropolitan Family Services and the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, which will raise the rest of the funding, and will be called WINGS Metro. The city also is contributing land valued at $500,000.
"As a champion of domestic violence victims’ rights, Mayor Emanuel called on the Department of Family and Support Services to come up with a solution to increase the number of available beds in the City of Chicago," said Evelyn Diaz, commissioner of the department. "Today's announcement is the direct result of the mayor's ongoing commitment to assisting victims of domestic violence and their families."
The shelter will include a first floor that can be used for retail or a resale shop or for employment training.