Last Friday members of the state legislature, including Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Dan Ryan, attended the annual Legislative Breakfast at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
While the breakfast’s format usually gives the opportunity for Soldiers’ Home staff and residents to lobby for more legislation that helps and protects veterans, last week’s breakfast centered around the new long-term care facility being constructed at the Soldiers’ Home.
“I was proud to once again attend the Chelsea Soldiers Home Legislative Breakfast and see first hand how this facility takes care of those who have served our country,” said Speaker DeLeo. “It was also a chance to hear about the progress on plans for the new building, which reflects our ongoing commitment to our veterans.”
In October Gov. Charlie Baker broke ground on the new long-term care facility. The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.
“Friday I joined my colleagues to hear from Superintendent Cheryl Poppe of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea and Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, Francisco Urena, about the incredible new treatment center that will soon be built on their campus,” said Rep. Ryan. “This investment will ensure that our veterans continue to receive the best possible care in a new, state of the art facility.
In May 2017, Baker announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center (CLC) and signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project in Chelsea.
The Baker Administration also has received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the $199 million project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.
“Great to be with many legislative colleagues, including Speaker DeLeo, as well as Secretary Urena, at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home annual legislative breakfast this morning,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent. “Thanks to Superintendent Cheryl Poppe and Paul Moran for your hard work and dedication in making sure our veterans are well cared for at the Soldiers’ Home.”
Rep. David DeCoste (R-Norwell), a U.S. Army veteran, also attended the breakfast and said, “I had a great meeting at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home as we discussed an updated overview of the services that the Commonwealth is able to provide our veterans, particularly their new Community Living Center project. I will continue to support and advocate for the men and women who have fought for our country.”
The Soldiers’ Home first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses”.