VA shares a long and successful relationship with Fisher House Foundation. Its first build was in 1994 at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY, and the program continues to experience growth in 2020, expanding from 43 to 48 houses.
On Sept. 11, VA opened a new facility on the campus of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans. The Fisher House Foundation constructed the New Orleans facility and gifted it to VA.
Construction for the project began one year ago and is the first one in Louisiana. Along with the 16 fully furnished suites, the Fisher House includes a large dining room, library, living room, fully stocked kitchen and laundry facilities, and an exterior patio. Each of the suites includes a private, wheelchair-accessible bathroom.
This Fisher House provides a “home away from home” for approximately 500 Veterans and their loved ones annually. The dedication ceremony has been postponed for the time being.
The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Healthcare System facility opened Sept. 9. A virtual tour of is available at https://www.mirageaerial.com/clienttours/fisherhouse/index.htm.
The foundation recently opened facilities in Togus, Maine; Aurora, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and a second facility in Richmond, Virginia. VA plans to open a Fisher House in Huntington, West Virginia, by the end of 2020.
The first guests at the Maine Fisher House are pictured above.
The VA Fisher House program will expand to 65 facilities by 2030.
New Fisher Houses
In July, VA and the foundation broke ground on a house at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. Future construction includes an additional house in Bay Pines, Florida, and new houses in Columbia, South Carolina, and Lexington, Kentucky.
Currently, there are 90 Fisher Houses at VA and Department of Defense hospitals. They provide temporary accommodations at no charge for the families and caregivers of Veterans and active duty military receiving care.
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher established the Fisher House Foundation to provide accommodations for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The foundation also supports individual Veteran and military families through scholarship programs and the Hero Miles and Hotel for Heroes programs. The Hero Miles and Hotel for Heroes programs use donated loyalty program points to pay for flights or hotels when a Fisher House is not available.
A home away from home
“VA values our partnership with Fisher House Foundation in helping us to keep the nation’s promise to our Veterans,” said VA Secretary Wilkie. “The new Fisher Houses will offer comfort and support to Veterans and their families as they face challenging times. We are honored to offer them a home away from home.”
“Fisher House Foundation began building houses for VA because we understood that the need for medical care for our Veterans continues long after they leave service,” said Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation Ken Fisher. “We are proud to grow the VA Fisher House program by developing new sites so we can keep taking care those that have given so much, our Veterans and their loved ones.”
Jennifer Koget, LCSW, is the national program manager for the VA Fisher House and Family Hospitality Program.