“This acquisition realizes our goal to expand accessibility to long-term care facilities for Michigan’s veterans,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “Acquiring this property is a significant achievement for the State of Michigan as we move forward to modernize and expand long-term care services to Michigan Veterans.”
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency convened a work group in 2016 to study how the state can move the operation of veterans homes toward sustainability and improve long-term care for veterans. The work group recommended the construction of seven new veterans homes over the next 10 years across Michigan. Their first recommendation was to build two homes, one in the southeastern tri-county area (Prosperity Region 10) and a new home to replace aging facilities in Grand Rapids (Prosperity Region 4).
“Acquiring Sebille Manor resulted from a substantial, bi-partisan team effort across state government,” said Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford. “To get to where we are today has taken leadership from the Governor, support of our legislative partners in the Michigan House and Senate as well as members of Congress and Michigan’s two Senators, the Michigan Facilities Board of Directors, and a lot of dedicated effort from the DTMB Real Estate division and staff at MVAA.”
The site has strong military ties. Sebille Manor is named for Air Force Major Louis Sebille, who was the first member of the United States Air Force to receive the Medal of Honor since its establishment as a separate military service in September of 1947. He was born on November 21, 1915, in Harbor Beach, Michigan, and was killed in action near Hanchang, Korea, on August 5, 1950.
“It is a tremendous honor to build a new veterans home on a site that formerly housed military servicemembers and their families and is named for a true Michigan hero,” said Major General Gregory Vadnais, the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the state agency under which MVAA falls. “I want to thank the Department of the Army for working with us to secure this purchase and return Sebille Manor to service.”
To facilitate the build and operation of the new veterans homes, the Legislature created the Michigan Veterans Facility Authority, which is housed within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and governed by a nine-member gubernatorially appointed board. Vadnais designated the MVAA director to serve as the chairman of the MVFA Board. Workgroup co-chair and Senate Appropriations Chair, Senator David Hildebrand authored the legislation creating the Authority which passed with strong bi-partisan support through both Chambers.
“The creation of the new authority and funding for the construction of two new homes for our veterans was a top priority of mine,” said Senator David Hildenbrand (R-Grand Rapids). "I am excited to see this important step accomplished so we can move forward on building much needed new, state of the art facilities for our veterans.”
State Representative Laura Cox (R-Livonia), House Appropriations Committee Chair added, “With 33% of all Michigan veterans residing in the tri-county area, selection of a site in southeast Michigan is important in that it ensures veterans will have a place near home to reside when they need skilled nursing services.”
In 2016, the Michigan Legislature approved $42 million in state funds for new veteran home construction, paving the way for the state to apply to the VA State Home Construction Grant Program for additional match funds to build a new veterans home in Southeast Michigan and build a new, modern home on 93 acres of state-owned land the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans currently occupies. The VA Home construction grant provides up to 65 percent funding for approved projects and in April 2018 authorized up to $123 million for new veteran home construction, $38 million for Grand Rapids and up to $42 million for Southeast Michigan.
State Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), co-chair of the Joint Capital Outlay Committee and sponsor of legislation that authorized up to $3 million dollars for the purchase of property to build a new veterans home in Southeast Michigan, is pleased with the purchase. “This is a solid location with historic military ties near Selfridge Air National Guard Base.”
The Michigan Veterans Facility Board of Directors reviewed national best practices for state veterans home design and operation. The Board has chosen the small house concept for the two new homes. Each home will house 128 members who will reside in four small houses that provide each member with their own room and bathroom, and common spaces that include a space to gather and a small kitchen. The four small houses will connect to a community center that house clinical and therapeutic operations, amenities like a barbershop and beauty parlor and a large space for full membership and community gatherings. Architectural concepts of the new homes are attached. See the artist concept drawings of the new Southeast Michigan Veteran Home at http://bit.ly/SEMichVetsHome-Aug18.
“I am excited about working with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Chesterfield Township Supervisor Dan Acciavetti, their boards and staff on building the new Southeast Home,” said Redford. “The future for veterans in Michigan is bright.”