Community Leaders, Elected Officials and Salvation Army Leadership Opened the Doors to the 188,000-Square-Foot Facility that Includes New Community Center, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, Community-Based Corrections Program and Job Training Services
The Salvation Army will open the doors to the new Salvation Army Freedom Center, a 6-acre campus consisting of three interconnected buildings totaling 188,000-square-feet. The programs and services housed at the new Freedom Center
will offer solutions to some of the biggest societal issues and challenges faced today by families, youth, our neighborhoods and our city – problems such as addiction, crime, homelessness and violence prevention. Metropolitan Division and Central Territory Salvation Army leadership will be joined by Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., 27th Ward, as well as hundreds of community residents, donors and supporters to celebrate opening the doors of the state-of-the-art campus. Individuals who have benefited from these programs will share their stories about how these programs have transformed their lives.
The Freedom Center has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the West Side of Chicago, as well as on the city as a whole, with a particular emphasis on addressing the serious issues of violence prevention, crime reduction and unemployment. Helping to build a safer community will be a priority for The Freedom Center. The Corps Community Center on the new campus is expected to serve an estimated 22,500 people each year, including many young people.
“The Freedom Center, and particularly the new Salvation Army Corps Community Center that will anchor the new campus, presents us with an extraordinary opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of children and teens on the West Side who need a safe haven and positive alternatives to gangs and drugs,” said Lt. Col. Charles H. Smith, Metropolitan Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army. “The Corps Community Center will offer after school programs, summer camps, educational and recreational opportunities for young people. The Freedom Center will serve as a beacon of hope on the West Side, providing worship services, job training and access to a broad range of social services for families and local community residents.”
The Freedom Center will be home to:
- A new Salvation Army Corps Community Center, offering educational, recreational, arts and after-school and summer programs for youth, as well as social services and Sunday worship for local families and seniors
- The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, which provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation services
- A Transitional Jobs Program
- On-site health and wellness clinic
- Pathway Forward, The Salvation Army’s community-based corrections program
- The Salvation Army Mobile Feeding and Outreach Program, which serves the entire city
For more than 70 years, The Salvation Army has provided comprehensive recovery services and treatment for people seeking to overcome alcohol and substance abuse. For the past 35 years, these services were provided at the existing Freedom Center location on the Near West Side. Since 1975, The Salvation Army Freedom Center has also operated a community-based correctional services program, known as Pathway Forward, which has assisted more than 20,000 men and women make the transition to freedom and to society following a period of incarceration.
Now, both of these existing programs will be moving to the new Freedom Center campus. The Freedom Center will also serve as the base of operations for The Salvation Army Mobile Feeding and Outreach program. The new Salvation Army Corps Community Center will feature classrooms, computer labs, a gymnasium and a chapel that can also serve as a multipurpose performance space for the arts.
The Salvation Army selected the site for the new Freedom Center to provide an array of critically needed social services to a community whose residents face many struggles, including violence, crime, addiction, limited access to employment training and a need for more youth programming and safe havens for children and teens. The new Freedom Center campus reclaims a former industrial site and will transform an entire city block with improvements that include environmental remediation. The campus will consist of several interconnected masonry clad structures with beautifully landscaped courtyards and will be in keeping with the aesthetic of the mixed residential and retail neighborhood surrounding it. The campus was designed by the architectural firm Antunovich and Associates, and the construction manager is Bulley & Andrews with Ujamaa Construction.
“There’s probably not a single project across the city or the state that has the potential to make a greater impact on so many people’s lives and so many societal issues,” said Salvation Army Chicago Advisory Board Chair, Mike Karpeles. “An investment in this project is an investment in the future, with a strong return by saving taxpayer dollars spent on the high costs of incarceration, unemployment and health care. And, it will also help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through the many preventive programs it will offer for young people.”
The Freedom Center project is being made possible -- in large part -- due to donations from individuals who have named The Salvation Army in their estate plans. For more information about The Freedom Center, visit www.salvationarmyfreedomcenter.org