The Swarm opinion blog: Veterans homes in Fresno, Redding could open this fall

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3E

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Posted by Foon Rhee

The long-delayed new veterans homes in Fresno and Redding could finally be on the verge of opening.

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a budget last week that includes $27 million to staff the homes. If the Legislature goes along, the first residents could move in this fall.

Assemblyman Henry T. Perea of Fresno said that the state Department of Veterans Affairs plans a job fair on Jan. 23 to hire the first 70 employees at the Fresno home.

"We have all worked very hard to get the veterans home open and these funds are the result of that work," Perea said in a statement. "This facility will serve our local veterans well for years to come."

Sen. Jim Nielsen, who represents Redding, thanked the governor for including the money. "I will work with administration officials and my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that the proposed funding stays intact," he said in a statement.

Construction has been complete for months and there are waiting lists to get in, but the state hasn't found the money for operations and employees. Federal money helped build the $159 million, 300-bed home in Fresno and the $88 million, 150-bed home in Redding.

I've been following this saga for a while, ever since visiting the nearly finished home in Redding in late 2011. You can argue whether the homes are too costly for the number of veterans they will serve, but it made little sense to spend $280,000 a month to maintain the homes and have them sit empty.


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