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History of Serving Veterans
Through our emergency assistance program and senior residences, Catholic Charities has a long history of serving veterans in need. From its inception in 1917, Catholic Charities has helped veterans through its social services. Over the past 10 years, we have seen an increasing number of veterans coming to us for services through our emergency assistance centers, clothing rooms, food pantries, evening suppers, and transitional shelters in Chicago, as well as in Des Plaines and Summit. Veterans also reside safely and comfortably in our 18 residential buildings for low-income seniors.
To specifically house veterans, Catholic Charities began working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the summer of 2004 to create a residence for veterans battling addictions at the VA’s Hines Campus, located in Chicago’s Western suburbs. The building, Cooke's Manor, which was officially dedicated as a new facility on November 9, 2005, now houses 40 Chicago-area veterans who would otherwise be homeless. On May 8, 2006, Catholic Charities dedicated a second residence, Bishop Goedert Residence, a senior veterans’ facility, on the Hines Campus to house veterans and veterans' widows as well as some non-veteran senior citizens.
The St. Leo Campus, located in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, is another monumental step in Catholic Charities’ dream to keep veterans safe, off the streets, and treated with dignity. The St. Leo Campus is comprised of Catholic Charities’ St. Leo Residence, the Auburn Gresham Community Based Outpatient Clinic, the St. Leo Veterans Garden, and the Pope John II Residence, which provides apartment housing for persons who have physical disabilities.