Durbin, Duckworth Meet With Illinois Director Of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Linda Chapa LaVia to discuss Veterans issues in Illinois, including disability claims, mental health, and the needs of women Veterans. They also discussed supporting operations at Illinois Veterans’ Homes (IVH) and progress in the construction of the Chicago Veterans Home project.

“Senator Duckworth and I remain committed from the federal side to provide any and all assistance to support veterans in the State of Illinois, including by upgrading infrastructure at State Veterans Homes to ensure Illinois’ veterans get the care they deserve,” Durbin said.

“It was great to meet with Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia today,” Duckworth said. “I look forward to continuing to work together to improve the lives of Illinois Veterans and make sure Veterans have the help and support they deserve.”

A photo of today’s meeting is available here.

In their meeting, Durbin and Duckworth offered continued federal support for State Veterans’ Homes across Illinois.  In recent years, the VA has provided $5.7 million in federal assistance for improvements at IVH Quincy through the VA’s State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program. Durbin has supported boosting funding for the program through annual appropriations.

Originally announced in 2009 by then-Governor Quinn, the 200-bed, 5-story Chicago Veterans Home is due to be the fifth Illinois Veterans’ Home and the first to be located in Chicago.  The Home will provide skilled nursing home care for 200 Veterans in single rooms with private bathrooms, include 44 beds for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and assistance to homeless and disabled Veterans.  The project stalled for years under then-Governor Rauner due to the budget impasse with the Illinois General Assembly, and moved forward in recent years under Governor Pritzker, with construction to be completed this May with a target opening date of July 1.