- Associated Press - Friday, January 13, 2017

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New veterans facilities are planned for Michigan’s two largest cities as early as 2019.

A 120-bed facility in Grand Rapids will replace the aging Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and a similarly sized facility in Detroit will be a new addition to the state’s Department of Military and Veteran Affairs long-term care system, MLive (http://bit.ly/2j8DHaJ ) reported.

Gov. Rick Snyder approved the overarching plan Wednesday, but the necessary federal funding hasn’t been authorized.

Republican state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, who sponsored the main piece of legislation for the four-bill package, said veterans deserve the best possible care.

“This legislation will modernize the way our veterans homes operate and transform them into facilities that can quickly and easily adapt to the ever-changing nature of long-term care services,” Hildenbrand said.

The plans come after a state audit released in February revealed inadequate staffing levels and a failure to properly investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and inadequate staffing at the home.

The new plan will implement Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority, a division of state government that would allow flexibility in assessing and addressing the state’s veterans facility needs. They will have jurisdiction to operate and develop new veterans facilities, request for funding for those developments and issue up to $150 million in bonds to help fund its efforts.

In light of the state audit, the new facilities will be the authority’s first priority.

Both are anticipated to be about 132,000 square feet. The facilities will cost a combined $108 million to construct.

If the projects are selected for federal funding, the construction on the new facilities would likely begin in June 2018 and be completed by August 2019.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com

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