House committee approves Nealey bill to create a veterans’ home in Walla Walla

Rep. Terry Nealey – (360) 786-7828

House committee approves Nealey bill to create a veterans' home in Walla Walla

The House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would create a new Walla Walla Veterans' Home as a branch of the Washington Soldiers' Home.   Rep. Terry Nealey introduced House Bill 1782, which gained unanimous committee approval Wednesday morning in Olympia.   “This is important to have a veterans' home in Walla Walla. The area is underserved because of the geographic location. We have a high veterans' population in our corner of the state, and Walla Walla is also the location of a veterans' hospital. So it would also be a great location for this facility,” said Nealey, R-Dayton. “Once we establish this home there, I believe it will be very well utilized.”   The Walla Walla Veterans Home would be a skilled nursing facility, providing long-term care for honorably discharged veterans, many of whom are disabled. It would also serve families of veterans and Gold Star parents whose children died while serving in the armed forces.   Nealey recently received word that the federal government has approved nearly $21.8 million for the home. Last year, the state Legislature approved a capital budget that included a $14.4 million appropriation for its construction.   “This facility would serve veterans in southeast Washington, and parts of Idaho and Oregon. It would also provide more than 90 family-wage jobs, which would greatly help our local economy,” added Nealey.   According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 5,600 veterans live in Walla Walla County. It's estimated nearly 50,000 veterans live in southeast Washington.   A companion measure, Senate Bill 5691, was by Sen. Mike Hewitt. It was approved Tuesday by the Senate Governmental Operations Committee. Both measures cleared their respective committees before the Friday, Feb. 22 deadline.   The House bill now heads to the Rules Committee for further consideration.


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