The recent announcement by Gov. Charlie Baker that the state has secured approximately $70 million in federal funding for the new, 154-bed Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home assures that this much-needed and important project will go forward.
Our state leaders, most notably Gov. Baker, House Speaker Bob DeLeo, and Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco A. Ureña, have made it a priority of designing and obtaining the funding for the $199 million project, but getting the federal funding was always a crucial piece of the puzzle that had to come through.
The new Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will provide 154 “home-like” rooms for veterans in accordance with Veterans Administration standards of design, which promotes greater accessibility, mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Services will include physical and occupational therapy, recreational activities, and greater access to the outdoors. The current facility, the Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Center, will continue to be fully operational during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2021.
The new Quigley center has been almost a year in the making, ever since when in May 2017, the Baker-Polito administration announced state funding for the new long-term care facility as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan. Gov. Baker signed the bill to fund the project in November after Speaker DeLeo had shepherded it through the legislative process.
The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has a long and hallowed history of serving our state’s veterans. It first opened its doors in 1882 to Massachusetts veterans of the Civil War who had been wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.”
The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home was recognized as a national leader for the care of our veterans for more than five decades under the direction of the legendary Lawrence F. Quigley, a veteran of the the first World War, and then under his son, John L. Quigley, who was a Marine who received a Purple Heart when he went ashore during the invasion of Iwo Jima in WWII.
Today, the Chelsea Soldiers Home, under the leadership of Superintendent Cheryl Lussier Poppe, continues to be a national leader in fulfilling its role in caring for our veterans, maintaining Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long-term care and domiciliary/supportive services.
We know we speak for all our fellow Massachusetts citizens in looking forward to the construction of a new facility that will bring the Chelsea Soldiers Home and the Quigley long-term center into the 21st century.