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Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Downtown Chicago

Fortune Restoration’s long running relationship with the Archdiocese of Chicago is not limited to its numerous churches throughout the Chicagoland area. Fortune Restoration has been hired as a tuckpoint contractor, exterior paint contractor and interior paint contractor for the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. For the extensive tuckpoint project done around the exterior masonry façade of the Mercy Home’s headquarter offices, Fortune Restoration used scaffolding to complete brick repairs to the multi-level building in downtown Chicago. Fortune Restoration’s painting services have also been provided for both the exterior and interior spaces at Mercy.

In response to a dramatic rise in the number of wayward and homeless boys in Chicago’s streets, Fr. Louis Campbell, a Catholic priest, opens a home in temporary quarters above a library on LaSalle Street, in the shadows of the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Fr. Campbell originally names the home St. Paul’s Home for Working Boys. Later that same year, the facility is incorporated as a distinct organization within the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and renamed it the Mission of Our Lady of Mercy. Fr. Dennis Mahoney takes charge after Fr. Campbell falls ill. He raises a modest down payment to purchase a private residence at what is today 1140 W. Jackson Blvd., just west of downtown Chicago. The site has been the permanent home to Mercy Home’s headquarters ever since, and it’s where the boy’s campus operates today. Monsignor C.J. Quille opens a bright, modern new home for the children that replaces the existing old residences on West Jackson Blvd.

It remains the nucleus of our Hay Boys Campus today. Fr. Quille opens a trade school where the boys will learn bricklaying, carpentry, painting, candle making and more. This tradition of preparing young people to become self-reliant and successful continues in the job skills and career preparation programs they offer today. Rev. James J. Close takes the helm following Fr. Kelly’s death. In his 33 years as its president, Close will dramatically expand the Home to serve more and more children. Mercy Home begins a program of AfterCare to support the continued success of youth as they move beyond Mercy Home.

After caring for boys for a century, Mercy Home has the opportunity to open a new home for young women in the former Walgreen family mansion on Chicago’s South Side. That same year, our new Friends First mentoring program starts training adult volunteers to serve as role models to young people in need who live throughout the community. The new facility Mercy Home for Boys and Girls Walsh Campus, increased Mercy’s capacity on the boys campus by 40%, enables Mercy Home to provide healing for more children in need than ever before. Fr. Close retires and Fr. Donahue assumes full leadership of Mercy Home, becoming its eighth and current president. Mercy Home for Boys & Girls celebrates its 125th anniversary by expanding its services to aftercare members and their families through its supportive housing program. Work begins on rehabilitating a donated, vacant apartment building in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood that will provide safe, affordable, transitional housing when it opens the following year.