Two Chicago Projects Go Green For The Homeless

<p>Two new environmentally-friendly housing projects in Chicago are geared towards the city's homeless population.</p>
November 8, 2006, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
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"Over the last half-dozen years, the city has begun urging developers to incorporate sustainable elements into their projects. The city's efforts include expediting constructions permits for projects that meet the certification standards for the United States Green Building Council, and providing matching grants of up to $100,000 for projects that involve green roofs, which use plantings to aid insulation. So far, the city has about 300 green roofs, more than any other American city."

The two new projects -- one a homeless shelter and the other a supportive housing facility aimed at the homeless and indigent -- are expected to qualify for LEED certification. And while some in the city may be apprehensive about expending so much money on homeless shelters, the projects have been relatively inexpensive.

"'These two buildings prove that even nonprofit organizations can have very cool sustainable designs without a huge capital investment,' said Lori T. Healey, the city's planning commissioner."

"Cindy M. Holler, director of Mercy Housing Lakefront, said one of the advantages of the building is the way it challenges traditional notions of what housing for the homeless should be. 'Some very poor people are going to get beautiful views of downtown Chicago here, and that's O.K.,' she said."

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Published on Sunday, November 5, 2006 in The New York Times
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