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November 13, 2009

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs brings awareness to homeless Vets at Prince Home
Open house to share information, resources for homeless veterans

MANTENO – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) held an open house today at the Prince Home at Manteno to bring awareness to the resources the State of Illinois provides for homeless and disabled veterans. IDVA Director Dan Grant was joined by State Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee) and State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) at the facility, which was the first in Illinois to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.


“The Prince Home has done an incredible job of providing housing and supportive services to homeless veterans, and also helping to restore their independence and dignity,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant. “The Prince Home is a shining example of the leadership the State of Illinois has shown in caring for Veterans and meeting their needs.”


Prince Home, located on the grounds of the Illinois Veterans’ Home at Manteno, opened in 2007 and provides housing and supportive services for 15 homeless and disabled veterans. The Prince Home now serves as a national model for meeting the needs of homeless and disabled veterans, including veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The event was free and open to the public, and ran from 8 a.m. until noon.  


“Prince Home is serving veterans who are homeless with respect and dignity. By providing housing, advocacy, therapeutic and support services, Prince Home fosters integrity, duty and commitment to cultivate individual growth and independence,” said Deanna Mackey, Prince Home administrator.


November is National Homeless Awareness Month and homelessness is a crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of veterans nationwide. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that 131,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Most homeless veterans are male, and nearly half suffer from mental illness, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


The Prince Home open house was designed to bring additional awareness and share information about how the State of Illinois is assisting veterans who are homeless. Since opening, 42 male and female veterans, ranging in age from 25 to 62, have utilized Prince Home.  The average stay is about five months.


The home has a staff of nine skilled professionals with social services backgrounds, including the administrator, caseworkers, addiction counselors and a psychiatric nurse. Residents are required to participate in a structured curriculum and planned programs and activities including job and housing search, volunteer work and chores. Residents are also required to budget the income they do receive, and a portion of it is placed in a “discharge savings trust fund” when they are ready to be discharged.


“The men and women who utilize Prince Home are proud individuals who’ve served their country with honor. Those who have fallen on hard times have earned our help,” Director Grant said. “We are restoring structure, and step-by-step, helping them to rebuild their lives.”




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