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Mich. secures funds to build 2 veterans homes

David Eggert
Associated Press

Lansing – Michigan will proceed with building two new veterans homes in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area after securing federal aid on Friday, a key step in a plan to revamp how nursing care is provided to veterans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs authorized the state to spend up to $123 million, including about $80 million in federal money. A $42 million state match for the two projects had been approved by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature in 2016.

Snyder said the federal funding “will pave the way for new, modern facilities that are long overdue and will better meet the needs of our veterans.” He added in a statement that veterans “deserve the absolute best.”

Michigan has two veterans homes, one in Grand Rapids and another in Marquette, that house nearly 460 veterans. The state will replace and downsize the one in Grand Rapids – which has grappled with problems such as insufficient care and inadequate staffing levels – and build a new home in the Detroit area. They will each have 128 beds, as part of a long-term initiative to transition from two homes in the western and far-northern regions of Michigan to seven new, smaller ones spread across the state.

The current multi-story, hospital-like buildings will be jettisoned for modern houses that are more like a real “home.”

The Michigan Veterans Facility Authority wants to begin construction on the new Grand Rapids facility in September. It will be located near the existing home.

The search continues for a site in southeast Michigan.