We are getting a first look at what a new Grand Rapids Home for Veterans could look like when, and if, it's built several years from now on the home's current grounds.
The Home for Veterans has been a topic of investigation for our 13 Watchdog team for close to two years for various reasons. The facility is supposed to be a safe haven for veterans but instead we've reported on terrible under staffing, incidents where veterans were put in very vulnerable positions and awful governmental audits and reviews.
Things have progressively gotten better at the facility as we have watched the process. Leaders at the state level are hoping a new facility will change perceptions in the community..
The process is underway to build at least two new homes for people who have served our country. Images we obtained show a much more private environment for veterans with their own kitchenettes and private entrances.
Certainly the new facility will have a much more modern environment and perhaps, with it, will come a better staffing model.
Once it's built, the Grand Rapids home will be much smaller than the original. There is hope it would be easier to staff and maintain giving veterans a better quality of care. Redford has promised no veterans would be displaced by the change to the new facility.
"We want to provide more veterans facilities throughout the state the state at a level that is more consistent with best practices are so we can give the best possible care to our veterans," Director of the Military and Veterans Affairs Agency James Redford said.
Several veterans' groups have told us they're pleased with the plans and think it's a step in the right direction, especially considering it appears the state and federal government will be pouring $108 million into the two new facilities in Grand Rapids and Detroit.
There's still some question whether the federal government will pay the expected 65% share of the project but there are heavy indications from state leaders that the feds will pay their share eventually.
Construction, if all goes as planned, is scheduled to begin in July 2018.
PHOTOS: GR Home for Veterans new look
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