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Chicago's Hull House closes doors after 120 years of helping immigrants

Hull House, the Chicago social services organization founded more than 120 years ago by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams to help immigrants and the poor, closed Friday after running out of money.

The agency said the poor economy resulted in more demand for its services but also made it harder to raise money to cover its costs. Hull House has been providing child care, job training, housing assistance and other services for 60,000 people a year.

The agency had announced plans to close in the spring, but Friday's shutdown was unexpected, leaving about 300 employees out of work. They received layoff notices and final paychecks and then spent the day packing their belongings and saying tearful goodbyes.

Founded in 1889, Hull House was the best known of the 400 settlement houses in the United States in the early 1900s. The settlements were designed to provide services to immigrants and the poor while uplifting them through culture, education and recreation. At its peak, Hull House served more than 9,000 people a week, offering medical help, an art gallery, citizenship classes, a gardening club and a gym with sports programs.

Addams, who was recognized around the world for her work, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

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