WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has approved $15.6 million conditional funding for the New Mexico State Veterans' Home in Truth or Consequences to construct a new 59 bed facility. The construction and expansion project includes 39 Alzheimer’s beds, a 20 bed Skilled Nursing Unit, a new rehabilitation section for inpatient and outpatient services, and a new pool. The N.M. State Veterans' Home must complete items the VA has outlined as requirements for final grant award approval within 180 days from the date they received notification of the conditional funding approval.
The conditionally awarded funding is available through the VA's State Home Construction Grant Program, which provides matching grant funds for renovation and construction of state veterans homes and adult day care facilities. The VA matches 65 percent of the project costs, and states fund the remaining 35 percent. The N.M. State Veterans' Home—the only nursing facility in N.M. dedicated specifically to serving veterans and their families—has planned the construction of a new facility since 2008, and the project is estimated to cost $30 million. It has already secured $12.5 million in state funding and plans to request additional funding during the 2015 state legislative session.
"The New Mexico State Veterans' Home provides top-notch nursing home care for our veterans, and this grant will help with needed updates and an expansion to help better serve elderly and rehabbing patients," Udall said. "As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I am proud to support funding for projects like this to ensure our veterans get the care they have earned. I thank our state legislature for setting aside initial funding for this project, and we ask that state lawmakers provide the full amount so construction can move forward."
“Constructing a new facility at the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home will provide our elderly veterans with the best nursing care available," Heinrich said. "This funding ensures that veterans in New Mexico with rehabilitative or disability needs benefit from state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient services, and a Skilled Nursing Unit. These kinds of investments are critical if we are to fulfill our nation’s promise to those who served. Few sacrifices are as selfless as those our military service men and women make in defense of this nation. We owe our veterans and their loved ones more than a debt of gratitude -- we owe them action in both our words and deeds.”
“As the one nursing facility in New Mexico that serves only our veterans and their families, the State Veterans’ Home helps New Mexico’s heroes that come from every corner of the state,” Luján said. “Funds for an expansion will enable this important facility to assist more of our brave men and women and give them the care they have earned through their service to our nation. The VA’s approval for conditional funding represents another important step toward making the new facility a reality for New Mexico’s veterans.”
"Veterans and their families deserve every opportunity for quality care and skilled nursing that will help them recover from injuries and live with dignity," Lujan Grisham said. "I fully support this investment and urge the VA to ensure that residents at the State Veterans' Home have access to quality programs and qualified staff."
The N.M. State Veterans' Home received notice of the conditional funding approval in late September, and therefore must meet the requirements outlined by the VA by late March for final approval of the $15,614,314 award.