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New Mexico governor to request $59M for veterans’ home

November 11, 2021 GMT
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a Veterans Day ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Lujan Grisham proposed legislation at the event that would fund an overhaul of New Mexico Veterans Home in the town of Truth or Consequences. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a Veterans Day ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Lujan Grisham proposed legislation at the event that would fund an overhaul of New Mexico Veterans Home in the town of Truth or Consequences. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a Veterans Day ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Lujan Grisham proposed legislation at the event that would fund an overhaul of New Mexico Veterans Home in the town of Truth or Consequences. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vowed to request $59 million in capital funding during the upcoming legislative session to finance major improvements at the troubled New Mexico State Veterans’ Home.

She announced the plan in a ceremony Thursday at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, where she said veterans deserve respect and support, including in their later years.

Pending legislative approval, Lujan Grisham said work on what she called state-of-the-art improvements at the Veterans’ Home could begin as soon as next summer.

A recent report by legislative analysts turned up numerous concerns about the facility in the city of Truth or Consequences. Among other things, it cited a lack of oversight as a likely factor in high COVID-19 infection and death rates among residents at the home.

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Aside from cramped conditions and maintenance issues, the governor’s office also noted Thursday that the main building — originally constructed in 1936 — has inadequate ventilation and restrooms that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The new facilities will include six small, homelike settings that will provide safer and more comfortable living spaces for residents. State officials said the model has been shown to result in a better quality of life for residents, their families and staff.

After her stop in Albuquerque, Lujan Grisham traveled to the Veterans Home to commemorate Veterans Day with residents there.