New Wing at Veterans Home Sits Empty, No Money for Staff as Wait List Grows to 400

WBBM News Radio Chicago

May 13, 2008, La Salle, Ill – A brand new wing of the LaSalle Veterans Home is sitting empty and unused – with more than 400 veterans on a waiting list.

WBBM’s Steve Miller has the story.

The funding was in place to build the new wing of the LaSalle Veterans Home and construction was finished at least two months ago.

But now, that new, 80-bed wing sits waiting for money so staff can be hired – before it can admit patients.

“We’ve had over 450 veterans on our waiting list here.”

Martin Rue is superintendent with the LaSalle County Veterans Assistance Commission.

He says taxpayers spend $2,200 a month on veterans who aren’t in veterans homes.  And $929 a month on veterans who are in veterans homes, where he says they get more skilled care anyway.

“I really feel sorry for the taxpayers in the state of Illinois, and those veterans who, in their last hours of life, looking for a pillow to place their head, can’t even receive that when we know the beds will be there.”

The general assembly is considering a veterans bill that amounts to more than $8M, but Rue says the money is already there and the governor could release it any time.

Newsradio 780 has asked the governor’s office for a response.

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