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Dedicated to ending homelessness, Inner Voice is a Chicago non-profit organization that provides support to socially and economically disadvantaged people. One of its programs, the Eddie Beard Homeless Veterans’ Housing Program (EBVH), focuses on providing interim housing for honorably discharged veterans. EBVH ensures that residents receive medical services and job placement assistance.
In summer 2015, the Heart of a Marine Foundation provided the facility, known as the Vet House, with the funding and volunteers needed to paint and re-carpet the hallways and common areas of all three of the building’s floors. Unfortunately, those improvements—as well as the resident rooms on the top floor—were at risk. The building had an old, damaged roof and leaks were beginning to appear.
“Staff members were concerned on an ongoing basis that Inner Voice was not providing the kind of accommodations our vets deserved,” says Jackie Edens, executive director of Inner Voice. The organization, however, couldn’t afford the cost of a new roof.
Edens requested assistance from the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Though the NRCA was unable to take on the project, they put Edens in touch with Rod Petrick of Ridgeworth Roofing.
“That’s when the magic began to happen and our luck took a turn for the better,” says Edens.
After Inner Voice had essential masonry work completed (for which some of the old roof was removed), Rigeworth secured the required permits—a challenge in and of itself—and got started with a plan.
“Rod was patient, kind, and had a great sense of humor,” says Edens. “He stayed in touch with me as well as the staff of the EBVH on a regular basis. Even during the protracted permit process, no one at Ridgeworth gave up on us or lost their patience.”
“Working with Ridgeworth Roofing was like working with another community stakeholder,” says Inner Voice program assistant Paris Brady. “They showed an invested interest and understanding of how vital it is to provide quality housing to our veterans. Everyone made us feel like every call and email was important and a priority for them, even though this was a pro bono project.”
Completed in November 2015, the Johns Manville modified roof system covers three roof areas for a total of 1600 square feet.
“The finished product has had an immeasurable impact on the stability and sustainability of the Vet House,” says Brady. “Clients who reside on the third floor no longer have to worry about issues with leaking or waterlogged ceilings and the vets here are really appreciative of this contribution and recognize it significance. This project also reassures other donors, like the Heart of the Marine Foundation, that we continue to do good work for our communities and their support is matched by others.”
Edens describes Ridgeworth’s involvement as “miraculous.”
“All of the staff and residents of EBVH and I can sleep better at night knowing we have a secure roof over our heads,” she says. “It’s kind of ironic that Ridgeworth and Inner Voice are both in the business of putting roofs over people’s heads. It was an incredible experience for which we are and will always be incredibly grateful.”
The Ridgeworth Roofing team is thrilled to have been able to provide the materials and labor for this project at no cost to Inner Voice. It’s an honor to have supported them as they continue their incredible work in our community.
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Project Snapshot: Inner Voice