Following the local, grass-roots drive to raise funds for construction, it became apparent that further fundraising efforts are vital to support year-round operations of this Hines VA "home away from home" for military families when it opened March 1, 2010.
The humanitarian need fulfilled by the Fisher House program is not one provided by the
Departments of Defense or Veterans Administration.
Once the 20-private-bedroom-suite Hines Fisher House is constructed in fall 2009, the Fisher House Foundation will present it as a gift to Hines VA. From that point on, funding staffing, operations and maintenance becomes the full responsibility of Hines VA.
Hines administration has indicated the strong need for support to ensure that year-round lodging and other services are provided free of charge to veterans and their families.
Hines is designated by the VA as a VA national polytrauma site. In this capacity, the medical facility is treating younger veterans returning from Iraq with multiple trauma injuries like traumatic brain injuries. This requires more patients traveling longer distances. These complicated injuries require longer hospital stays, which will make the Fisher House for Hines that much more important.
Both the Hines Spinal Cord Injury and Blind Rehabilitation Center programs minister to almost 900 Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom veterans with long stays.
These two Centers, alone, draw patients from a total of 17 states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming plus parts of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
In addition, Hines VA Hospital continues to service the medical needs of 300,000 Illinois veterans with 536,600 outpatient visits a year. Many of them travel long distances within Illinois for out-patient treatment and cannot afford overnight lodging at motels. These veterans will also qualify for free lodging at the Hines Fisher House.