Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center breaks ground on new homes - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center breaks ground on new homes

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TOMAH (WXOW) - Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center held a ground breaking ceremony on Monday for two new veterans homes.

The Green Homes are modeled after the Green House Project, a national model for long term skilled nursing care homes.

Green Homes aren't about sustainable living, rather, getting away from traditional nursing home living, creating a family home.

Herbert Hanson, Korean War Veteran, has lived at the VA home in Tomah for two years.

After the homes are finished Herbert said he would like to live in one of the homes.

"Because I think it will be something great," Herbert said.

"It will give them another home," John L. Fredrickson, Wisconsin Disabled American Veterans Commander said. "Another place to live, you see so many people, homeless veterans that have gotten involved. This is more of a community type setting."

The purpose is to be a place where veterans can receive assistance and support in daily living without the assistance becoming the focus of their life; instead the focus will be on building relationships.

Ten men and women will live in each home.

"It's going to provide a more private setting that's going to allow veterans to live in full dignity and respect," Mario DeSanctis, Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center Director said.

Each veteran will have their own bedroom and restroom.  All of the rooms will be situated around a common area and the kitchen, which will feature one large dining room table.

"Although we really try our best to recreate a home for them in our facility now, this will really be a home setting for them," DeSanctis said.

Fredrickson said he thinks the home setting will help veterans feel more comfortable.

"The traditional nursing home is one person in a room," Fredrickson said. "Its solitude. You have no family life. Its more like being in a prison. This is more of a family type atmosphere where you have friends."

It will cost $6 million to built the two Green Homes.  The money will come from the Veterans Affairs Office in Washington D.C.

The homes should be open in Spring 2014 and they'll begin taking resident applications Fall 2013.

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