Emanuel Blames Rauner For Stalled Veterans Home In Chicago

(CBS) – Three years ago, Mayor Emanuel said he was making it a top priority to end homelessness among former members of the U.S. military.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley takes a look at one reason the mayor says that hasn’t happened.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner paid tribute to veterans Friday at Hines VA Hospital.

“One way we can support our veterans — keep a quality of life and achieve the American dream for themselves and their families — is to have high-quality health care services,” he said.

Emanuel questioned that commitment, blasting Rauner for pulling funding from a Chicago veterans home. Construction was halted two years ago during the state budget fight.

“That project that would help provide shelter for our veterans was stopped by the state of Illinois under Gov. Rauner,” the mayor said.

The building would provide 200 veterans with long-term skilled nursing care. In July of last year, Rauner cut $4 million in funding for the building, part of $800 million he slashed and termed “wasteful spending.”

“I will tell you what I think is a waste,” Emanuel said, “is allowing all that human skill, capacity, and drive to be wasted being homeless.”

Emanuel said Chicago has provided housing for 3,000 homeless vets. So why, he was asked, didn’t Chicago use its own funds to complete the veterans home?

“We’ve done our job, the state has to do their job,” he said. “It’s a state project.”

Rauner’s office blamed former Gov. Pat Quinn for delaying the project. He announced it in 2009 but didn’t break ground until 2014.

The governor’s office says they’re now proceeding with construction but repairs have to be made to fix damage done while the project sat idle.

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