Chicago Crusader staff report
They serve those who have served their country. Now a charity group that helps homeless military veterans is slowly winning a battle of their own.
The Remake the World (RTW) Veteran Center in Washington Park won’t be closing its doors or shutting down its volunteer food pantry for the poor. For the second time in six months, the organization scored a victory in a tough fight to stay open. On May 17, the RTW was cleared of at least eight code violations at its headquarters at 5535 S. King Drive.
The encouraging news came when city inspectors examined the property and found several violations have been corrected said Jah Ranu Menab, facility director at the center.
“They said we were doing good,” Menab said by telephone. “We just have to keep it up.”
The achievement adds momentum to RTW’s efforts to keep its doors open. In April 2015, city officials threatened to close the facility after it found 32 code violations. The violations included fire and safety code hazards. RTW officials and supporters cheered last December when Chicago building officials and attorneys gave the facility a 6-month extension to allow the organization more time to correct the violations.
Officials returned last week and were pleased with the center’s progress. Still, the RTW must resolve at least 24 violations, but their efforts have gained the confidence of city inspectors, who are giving the center more time to correct the problems.
RTW officials will meet with the city on October 18 to give a status update on the corrections.
The news comes as the RTW Veterans Center prepares to host its 3rd Annual Memorial Day Old Fashion Barbeque to honor fallen soldiers. The free event will be held from 12 noon to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 30. There will also be music and entertainment.
Some RTW members still believe that the University of Chicago reported the violations as part of an attempt to acquire the building and create land for the Obama Presidential Library. University officials have denied any wrongdoing.
RTW officials say the facility serves more than 3,000 meals to homeless military. Most of them are Black. The non-profit receives no federal funding, but receives donations and support from volunteers in the community.