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Affordable Housing for Veterans Approved by City Council

By Darryl Holliday | January 22, 2015 9:02am
 "This is veterans housing that we can all participate in," said Christopher LaFayelle, a veteran and member of Keep Illinois Working.
"This is veterans housing that we can all participate in," said Christopher LaFayelle, a veteran and member of Keep Illinois Working.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

HUMBOLDT PARK — A 49-unit affordable apartment complex for veterans and their families will be built in Humboldt Park through a financial plan approved Wednesday by the City Council.

The 65th Infantry Borinqueneers Building will be developed by Hispanic Housing Development Corp. and built by Tropic Construction on a one-acre site acquired from Norwegian American Hospital at 1045 N. Sacramento Blvd.

City financial support will include a $1.5 million loan, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an energy grant from the state and a private mortgage loan for the four-story building, according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office.

The project gained the support of former Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia and Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) and was approved by the city's Zoning Committee in January.

Debate over the project became contentious at points since plans were unveiled in October.

But, at the latest community meeting on Dec. 17, Humboldt Park residents called for “compassion” for veterans and their families despite a small group of neighboring homeowners demanding more information on the contract before plans proceed.

Objectors to the project questioned Hipolito Roldan, head of the Hispanic Housing Development Corp., regarding the “no-bid” contract in place for the veteran’s building.

Roldan, a longtime prominent affordable housing developer, is chief executive officer of both Hispanic Housing Development Corp. and Tropic Construction — both the developer and builder of the 65th Infantry building.

The $15 million complex will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for veterans earning up to 60 percent of area median income, according to the Mayor’s Office. It will also contain a fitness room, community space, computer center, library and offices.

Social services will include case management, employment training and support groups for veterans’ needs provided by nearby Norwegian American Hospital. Rents on all of the units will be supported by project-based HUD rental assistance vouchers.

The building is named after the 65th Infantry, a Puerto Rican regiment of the U.S. Army that was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in June for more than a century of heroism and service.

Zoning approval was also granted by City Council Wednesday for an affordable housing complex in Humboldt Park called Tierra Linda.

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