WASHINGTON, DC – U.S Sens. Gary Peters and Thom Tillis led a bipartisan group of their colleagues in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies urging them to support robust funding for State Veterans Homes that help provide long-term care to our nation’s veterans. Federal funds provided by the State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program allow states to make critical facility upgrades or construct new facilities to serve aging veteran populations.
For fiscal year 2017, only 10 of the 57 highest priority projects were funded, resulting in a backlog of facilities requiring upgrades or new construction.
“State veterans homes have a long history of helping ensure that veterans disabled by age, illness, or other conditions continue to receive the respect and dignity they have earned through their service,” the senators wrote in the letter. “The growing backlog of more than 100 construction and renovation projects across the country, the majority of which have already secured matching state appropriations, presents challenges to meeting the long-term care needs of these veterans, particularly in rural states or states lacking alternate VA-certified facilities.”
State veterans homes are facilities that are operated by state governments and partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide nursing home, domiciliary, and adult day care services to veterans with special medical needs, including thousands of elderly veterans.
Michigan has two state veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Marquette that serve about 500 Michigan veterans. The state of Michigan recently announced plans to construct new homes in Grand Rapids, the Detroit metro area, the Flint/Saginaw/Bay City region, the Jackson and Battle Creek area, Marquette, Northern Michigan and Southeastern Michigan.
Peters and Tillis were joined in the letter by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).