A U.S. Army veteran and single mother of five boys was out of options after struggling to find housing that was affordable, large enough for her family, and that would accept her. She had nowhere to go, until someone from Veterans Affairs connected her to Hope Manor II, one of the first large-scale, supportive housing developments designed for veterans with families.

Not only did the Chicago development have larger, affordable units that met her needs, but she and her family were welcomed.

“With some of our other programs for veterans, we were finding very quickly that there was this growing unmet need for not only female veterans with children but couples with children and, even, single dads with children,” says Nancy Hughes Moyer, president and CEO of Volunteers of America of Illinois. “We really wanted to find a way to be part of a solution for that growing segment.”

In addition to providing housing stability for the veteran households, the development features a wealth of supportive services, including health and wellness programming, trauma groups, couples’ counseling, job training, and children’s activities.

“It’s not just about a key to the door,” says Hughes Moyer. “It’s about working with families and keeping families together. We try to customize the availability of services to what the needs are of the individual veterans.”

Volunteers of America of Illinois, in partnership with its national organization, Volunteers of America, completed Hope Manor II in October. The development provides 73 units, ranging from studios to four-bedrooms, in a mix of apartments, townhomes, and six-flats in the Englewood neighborhood. All of the units receive project-based Sec. 8 vouchers from the Chicago Housing Authority.

The city of Chicago also provided significant support for the $23.5 million development, including the donation of the land, HOME funds, tax increment financing, and the allocation of low-income housing tax credits. Other financing included a Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Affordable Housing Program grant, Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund money, and a loan from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.