NEAR WEST SIDE — Construction on a group of foster care homes is set to begin next month on a stretch of land in Roosevelt Square.
The 14 single-family homes are being built by SOS Children’s Village, an international nonprofit with a focus on keeping displaced siblings together within its foster care centers.
The project is being funded by an almost $2 million grant from the city in addition to private donations, according to the city’s website.
The foster care nonprofit already has sites in Back of the Yards and Auburn Gresham. Architect Jeanne Gang — best known for her Aqua Tower along Columbus Drive — won an architectural award for her work on the SOS Children’s Village Auburn Gresham community center in 2008.
Gang is also on board to design the layout of the backyards at the Roosevelt Square center.
The single-family units will house groups of siblings along with a paid caretaker who lives at the house full time. Onsite help with homework will also available to the youths via volunteer mentors.
Construction on the homes, along the 1300 block of Washburne Avenue, is expected to start by November and be completed by the end of spring, according to SOS Children’s Village CEO Tim McCormick.
The nonprofit honed in on Roosevelt Square partially due to its proximity to Fosco Park and access to college students, many of whom volunteer their time as mentors at the Chicago centers, McCormick said.
The foster care center’s approach keeps siblings together and also has options for parents struggling with substance abuse to live nearby. In a city like Chicago, keeping displaced families connected is crucial, according to McCormick.
“To me it makes sense when we look at violence in our city. People with no sense of attachment are prone to do just about anything,” he said.
The nonprofit was also granted an additional $800,000 in city dollars to rehab three two-flats at its Auburn Gresham center at 7600 S. Parnell Ave. McCormick said that construction would most likely not begin until next year, as private funding still needs to be secured.