Friday, March 28, 2014

Only Female Veteran in Dom unit, kicked out of the home.

That is right. The ONLY female Veteran on the Dom unit, has been kicked out of the vets home. 

Some folks say finally to that, as she was a person who had a drinking problem. Others say her drinking was because of how she was treated. It is known by several people at another drunken vet tried to rape her while she was at the home, and this lead to the staff allowing the lady vets to have locks on their room doors.

But all that doesn't matter. What does is the milestone that is marked by her passing.. Any other ladies left in Dom unit are non veterans. They are at best dependents of Veterans.

They are slowly, shutting down the Dom.

Most of the guys there in the last 5 years had drinking problems, which they never were given any help for. Apparently Michigan forgot about helping them for that problem.

Michigan is turning its back on its veterans.

Update: April 18, 2014. I have been informed that what got Annie kicked out of the home was an incident where she came back to the home drunk and one of the wheelchair bound veterans called her the N word on the elevator and that's when she lost it and tried to choke him.  It was the physical assault on the wheelchair bound veteran that got her kicked out of the home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feb Minutes of the Board of managers, held in Lansing, Mich

Not a whole lot of information here to report really.

The home has asked the VA to reduce the bed numbers from 450 to 430..

They claim admission requests are not coming in as much as they want.  Maybe its because of the reputation of the home amongst veterans all over Michigan. And the fact that they are trying to close down the Dom unit.  The home many not want to admit it, but many veterans would rather die than have to apply at the home, due to the bad reputation it has had in the past. Only those who have no choice seem to think its a good place to be.. Well, if your choices are the street or the home, you are going to choose the home, despite the reported bad reputation. More so if you need nursing care and the VA is paying for it, as they will only pay for specific locations and not just anywhere.

They report that the VA did its yearly survey the last week in January and the VA says the home is giving positive comments about the care they give.

And that was about it. Not much really in the meeting minutes other than a bit of administration stuff.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Not much to write about, due to lack of information.

Board of managers did not have a meeting in January.
In February, the meeting was held at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in Lansing.
No minutes for that meeting have been posted yet.
March meeting was on the 18th and no minutes posted for that one yet.

He ain't dead yet.

There is a nasty Rumor going around for the last week or so that Counselor Dwight Ferguson (SP?) has passed away.

As a reminder Dwight was the Rankin Dom unit Counselor.

Well he is VERY much alive, as I saw him walking to his car Friday afternoon.

So put the rumor to rest.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eliminating the Dom for Veteras, is Michigan making a costly future mistake?

It is pretty clear by all the evidence coming from Michigan Department of Veteran affairs and the meetings of the Veterans Homes Board of managers that Michigan is seeking to eliminate the Dom unit from its homes.

The Olmstead project is a good indication of this. It seems Michigan has forgotten why the Veterans Home was started in the first place - because too many civil war vets were found living in squalor and poor houses.

I will not comment on the conditions at the Veterans home in the Upper Peninsula over by Marquette as I have never visited the place.  But at the Vets home in Grand Rapids, the Dom unit is slowly being eliminated.

Of the 3 housing buildings at the Vets home in Grand Rapids, the Rankin building is the oldest, built around 1947. The building has reached its maximum useful life, and although still used, the cost of maintaining it, and/or upgrading it, is very close to exceeding the amount to rebuild it.

Rankin is home to 1 nursing unit on the first floor, and the Dom unit on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Those floors have about 20, four man rooms (if each man has a standard 10x8 foot living area per man). That is about 160 or so Dom unit residents. But now the home has reduced the population of the Dom unit to give the guys more room to live in and only about 45 or so live there. And the cost to keep a veteran in the Dom unit is horrible. The home charges over $2,100 plus dollars each month for a veteran to live in Dom unit.  Now for just 80 square feet of privacy, that is very very costly.

And I believe that is why they are trying to eliminate the Dom. Michigan spends only 3,500 per capita on veterans, (and we are in dead last of all the states) and other states spend 5,000 per capita.
The cost of a vet to live in Dom is upwards of $2,100.00+ and SS Disability or VA disability will only pay about 1,200 a month. Thus the State ends up having to dish out the difference, and that is probably why they are trying to close the Dom. To once again, balance the state budget on the backs of Veterans.

The reason for the Dom was to give veterans a safe place to live when it started, and veterans helped maintain the grounds and their living quarters. Today a Vet doesn't do anything, other than take care of their own personal property. Contractors clean the units, the floors, the toilet rooms, and remove the trash. The capable vets are not allowed to even volunteer to help grounds maintenance because of what some say is a lame excuse of "liability".  So most have nothing to do but sit around and rot. The activities budget for the veterans in all units at the home has decreased dramatically since 2010.

Rather than allow some of these guys (and gals is at least 1 female vet in the Dom),  to help out, the vets have little to do. It is no wonder they feel like they are "doing time in prison". And it does not help, when it has been reported by several people that the top administrator Sara Dunne was over heard saying that most of the guys on Dom are lazy bums that would not lift a finger to help themselves, and are just looking for a free handout.  Well, many would volunteer to help Grounds, if they could. Why that FREE pool of workers is not being taken advantage of, is an question only the politicians can answer.

Most of the guys at Dom are there without any incomes, or with partial incomes that do not pay the full cost of their stay. Those without incomes are not even encouraged to apply for any kind of disability pension, either thru the VA being service related, or thru Social Security. Nor is there anyone at the home qualified to assist those veterans who DO want to get such a pension. The vets who do apply do so on their own with outside help.  And even if they get a pension doesn't mean that they will get enough to live on.

Social security disability pays 1287 a month for most people. There are not many areas in the USA where a person can survive on that, let alone live. And some of these guys need more than just a roof over their heads.

Now some folks may suggest they apply at a nursing home, or a retirement home. But the homes here have age requirements. 55 minimum unless they have a physical disability that requires nursing care. At 55 they can apply for "independent living" which is like getting their own apartment at the retirement home. They would have to feed themselves or pay an extra fee to eat in the homes cafeteria with the others. And if they did not have any cooking skills, they would go hungry quickly.

So where do these under aged veterans  and special needs veterans go to live?  Even if they get out into the community, they will need help. I know of several vets who get full Social Security disability 1277 a month, and they still get Federal Housing help (section 8). State help with their Medicaid premiums, Food stamps (very low amount) and still after paying basic bills, end up having to go to Food pantries to get thru the month.  That makes living difficult.

So where are these guys going to live? Who is going to help those that need more than just a roof over their heads?  There currently is no place other than the Dom Unit, for them. And the government is trying to shut that down.

This will be the costly mistake in the future, if the Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs continues its current course of trying to shut down the Dom Unit at the Veterans Home.

Update - Private comment edited to retain Privacy:

    " Many of the vets will help out if they are allowed to. I had several that helped me when I was there. It is so sad that NO ONE has taken the time to find out what the Dom unit Vets gifts are or where any of the other Vets at the Home talents are. .....thanks for all my Veteran helpers."


Monday, March 3, 2014

Does Michigan really care? Michigan LAST in spending per capita for veterans.

Listen to the Michigan radio broadcast (recorded)

Michigan is last when it comes to per-capita spending for veterans.

 There is no shortage of attention showered upon our veterans. A true bipartisan show of support happened during the State of the Union speech, when President Obama singled out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for a standing ovation.

We stand up to offer ovations, we wave flags, we cheer our vets, but what are we really offering them in terms of support?
When it comes to per-capita spending for veterans, Michigan is last in the nation.
What should we be doing for the 700,000 military veterans who call Michigan home?
Kristin Hass joined us today. She’s the American Culture Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. And she’s the author of "Sacrificing Soldiers: New War Memorials on the National Mall."
*Listen to our interview above.