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Housing For Homeless Veterans Opening At Hines VA Hospital

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A window of opportunity was opening Friday morning for the approximately 1,000 homeless veterans living in Chicago.

The Cook County Housing Authority has invited those veterans to show up at the new Freedom's Path housing complex on the campus of Hines VA Hospital. From 9 a.m. to noon Friday, the Housing Authority of Cook County is encouraging homeless veterans to visit Freedom's Path to begin applying for housing. The facility has 72 units, with a focus on veterans who are homeless, or at risk for homelessness.

"I was living in people's basements and stuff like that. When you don't have a job and you lose everything, it's pretty hard to pay rent somewhere, you know what I'm saying?" said Jim, a Navy veteran who asked not to use his last name.

After serving in the Navy in the late 60s and early 70s, he later was essentially homeless for about four years.

"Due to medical problems, loss of jobs, divorce, and everything that adds up in life, things went bad as they do for people, and I was about at the end of the road there," Jim said. "With the help of others, I made it through."

Jim has been living in subsidized housing. He said he knows a lot of his fellow veterans are hesitant to trust the system, but he said they should give it a try, because it worked for him.

"People hesitate. (They think) it's not going to work. They hear these stories. And my advice is: Get yourself down there."

Freedom's Path pre-applications can be located on the HACC website under Forms at Veterans who qualify will be accepted in order of vulnerability. Please contact Corinne Steimer, LCSW (708) 202-4615 or Don Donahue, LCSW, HUD VASH clinical manager (708) 202-4952 with any additional questions.

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