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Hull House Association To Cease Operations Friday

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Jane Addams Hull House Association will be out of operation after Friday – more than a month earlier than previously thought.

Just last week, Hull House Board Chairman Stephen Saunders said the social service organization would stay up and running through March. But now, Saunders said Hull House will close this week and file for bankruptcy.

Hull House was founded as a settlement house in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. It was once the best known of the 400 settlement houses in the United States.

Currently, Hull House provides activities and assistance at nearly four dozen sites. But officials have said fundraising could not keep pace with the demand for its services, which has included child care, domestic violence counseling, job and literacy training, housing assistance and services for seniors.

The Hull House began with just the mansion that bears its name, but later expanded to a 13-building complex and drew a group of residents – largely women – who became prominent social reformers, the Encyclopedia of Chicago recalled.

The original Hull House settlement was displaced by the construction of University of Illinois at Chicago campus in the 1960s, although the mansion remains as a museum on the UIC campus at 800 S. Halsted St.

Afterward, Hull House moved its operation to a former American Legion Hall at 3212 N. Broadway in the East Lakeview neighborhood, which became the Jane Addams Hull House Center.

The Broadway facility offered art classes, adult literacy courses, child care and theatre programs to the working class residents of the neighborhood, the Chicago Reader recalled. It also became the home the Lakeview Pantry free food pantry, and several theatre companies, including the Steppenwolf.

But the Hull House Association decided to sell the building in 2002, and it was remodeled to become the fashionable Lakeview Athletic Club.

The Hull House headquarters are now at 1030 W. Van Buren St. The organization also operates the Uptown Center Hull House, 4520 N. Beacon St., and the Parkway Community House, 500 E. 67th St.

At its peak, Hull House served more than 9,000 people a week, offering medical help, an art gallery, citizenship classes, a gardening club and a gym with sports programs.

Metropolitan Family Services confirms that it is in dialogue with the Hull House group to assume some of its operations, but Family Services President/CEO Ric Estrada said a lot of it is up to the major underwriters of Hull House Association programs.

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