05.03.17

Peters, Tillis Lead Colleagues in Letter Calling for Funding for State Veterans Homes

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) 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). 

You can read the full letter below, or download here:

  

Dear Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Schatz:

As the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies considers appropriations for the 2018 fiscal year, we respectfully ask that you provide robust funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) State Home Construction Grant Program. Continued federal support for VA State Homes will build on the success of these facilities in serving the long-term care needs of our country’s veterans.

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. Operated by state governments, these facilities play important roles in the effort to address the unique health and quality of life needs of each state’s veteran population. The VA partners with certified state homes to provide nursing home, domiciliary, and adult day care services to critical segments of the veteran population with continuing or special medical needs, including thousands of elderly veterans.

Federal funds made available through the VA State Home Construction Grant Program allow states to make critical renovations and upgrades to existing facilities and construct new facilities to serve the aging veteran population. These grant opportunities are important to ensure that each State Veterans Home facility continues to meet VA’s standards and delivers the highest caliber of care to veterans. 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.

We recognize the difficult budgetary decisions that the Subcommittee is facing. However, we want to underscore that robust funding for the VA State Home Construction Grant Program will allow State Veterans Homes to continue to provide high-quality care for our country’s elderly veterans and veterans with long-term medical needs. Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your continued support in ensuring our nation’s veterans live with dignity.