LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs authorized funding from the VA State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program to build two new veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Southeast Michigan. The grant award letter signed by acting VA Secretary Ronny Jackson was received this morning and authorized Michigan to spend up to $123 million on the projects.
“This is great news for our state’s veterans,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “I am pleased Michigan gained the support from the federal VA with this grant funding for two veterans homes. It will pave the way for new, modern facilities that are long overdue and will better meet the needs of our veterans. Our brave men and women who served our state and nation deserve the absolute best, and I am proud of the work that is being done to help make Michigan the best place for veterans to live, raise a family, work and retire.”
In 2016, the Michigan Legislature approved $42 million in state funds for the projects. The VA State Home Construction Grant Program provides up to 65 percent funding for approved projects and has authorized up to $38 million for Grand Rapids and up to $42 million for Southeast Michigan.
A plan to modernize long-term health care for the state’s veterans was created by a workgroup convened by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to study best practices and chart a path to modernize state run facilities providing long-term care to veterans. The workgroup comprised of health care and financial experts and legislators completed their report in August 2016, recommending application to the VA State Veteran Home Construction Grant Program to build up to seven new veterans homes across the state. Based on recommendations from the group and with strong bi-partisan support from the legislature, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law PA 560 of 2016, creating the Michigan Veterans’ Facilities Authority, governed by a nine member board. The first action of the Authority Board was approval of the grant application designating that the first two homes be built on the current 90 acre campus in Grand Rapids and on a site to be determined in Southeast Michigan.
“We appreciate VA’s support of Michigan’s veterans in announcing this much needed funding to build new, modern veterans homes in our state,” said Michigan Veterans Facility Chair/Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford. “This is an important first step that allows Michigan to continue providing veteran-centered care in a modern, home-like setting, eventually expanding the number of veteran homes across the state in order to serve veterans close to where they live.”
The Michigan Veterans Facility Authority Board of Directors continues work to finalize site selection in southeast Michigan, based on legislative direction to locate a new state veterans home in Michigan Prosperity Region 10. The board has a goal of beginning construction of the new facility in Grand Rapids in September 2018.
For more information about the new veterans home project in Grand Rapids, visit the Michigan Veterans Facility Authority Board, Public Documents at MichiganVeterans.com.