Michigan Veteran Homes Director Jennifer Manning says the best part of her job is knowing that veterans will be given the quality of life they deserve and that a high level of care can be achieved in the new facility.

Michigan Veteran Homes Director Jennifer Manning says the best part of her job is knowing that veterans will be given the quality of life they deserve and that a high level of care can be achieved in the new facility.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Michigan Veteran Homes set to open in Macomb County

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published May 12, 2021


MACOMB COUNTY — The projected move-in date for the first veterans is fast approaching at the state’s newest veterans home.

May 17 is when some members are expected to call the Michigan Veteran Homes — or MVH, at Chesterfield Township, located at 47901 Sugarbush Road — their home.

At a total project cost of $76.5 million, construction of the assisted living home began in April 2019 and occupies 30 acres, totaling 152,000 square feet.

“The state-of-the-art facility consists of four unique neighborhood buildings and a community center,” a press release indicates. “The neighborhood buildings collectively house  128 private resident rooms with ensuite baths and feature shared living and dining spaces. The adjacent community center is the centerpiece of the home and features therapeutic facilities for behavioral, occupational, physical and group therapy; exam room; pharmacy; multi-faith prayer room; barbershop and salon; café bistro; and gift shop.”

The week of May 17, the plan is for two members to move in each day, with one neighborhood opening at a time. To be admitted, veterans must be honorably discharged and have a need that can be addressed with services such as medication management, rehabilitation or memory care.

Jennifer Manning, Chesterfield MVH director, said many of the soon-to-be residents are from metro Detroit.

“We admit veterans and their spouses,” she said. “Sometimes, they might be the surviving spouse if the veteran has passed. Once we are a certain percentage full, we can welcome Gold Star Family members — those who have lost their loved ones to war. We cater to the veterans needs and their family.”  

In 2018, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency acquired 103 acres of land at the site, which formerly served as barracks for Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The state purchased the site for $820,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Initially, this facility was supposed to be based more in the Detroit area,” Manning said. “I always mark it as a round robin, once being a home for active duty is now for our veterans.”

Residents will enjoy new private bedrooms and bathrooms. The site includes four home-like neighborhood buildings measuring more than 29,000 square feet. Each neighborhood can accommodate 32 residents and has its own kitchen and dining area.

“Each member lives in neighborhoods and within neighborhoods, lives in a house or household,” Manning said. “We don’t segregate them based on long-term or short-term care. Everyone needs that same camaraderie and brotherhood.”

Neighborhoods are named after Michigan areas and landmarks like the Blue Water Bridge, St. Clair River, Selfridge, Automotive Way, Turnip Rocks and Lake Huron.

Manning believes the biggest highlight of the home is for those with bariatric needs.

“The biggest highlight I find of this home is, most of the time, for those with bariatric needs, nursing facilities are not made for them or we’ve had to alter the building to fit their needs,” she said. “This home is built for their needs. We’re not trying to fit them into our mold; we mold around them.”

MVH has a bathing suite with a hydrotherapy tub equipped with a special lift that lifts up to 600 pounds.

Manning shared that the best part of the job for her is knowing that veterans will be given the quality of life they deserve.

“The mission I perceive to my staff is that it’s about the quality of life, not the quantity,” she said. “Knowing what our veterans have gone through and their desperate need for quality of care, we absolutely can achieve that in this building.”

Regarding the opening of the new home, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the county is excited and proud of the fact the facility is opening.

“It’s a long-term care housing facility for veterans,” he said. “We were selected as a site a few years back to go ahead and create this facility. A lot of work went into this on behalf of our planning department, working alongside Chesterfield Township and the state of Michigan.”

For living costs, Manning said MVH is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services facility and that members’ insurance will be billed. MVH is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a state veteran home.

“If they are service-connected, meaning disabled at 70% or more, they have an opportunity to have 100% of their care covered,” she said.

All costs are assessed through the financial department in the admissions process.

To apply to live at MVH, veterans can reach out to the admissions department and will either be mailed or emailed an application or meet in-person with the admissions coordinator.

To learn more, visit the MVH website at michigan.gov/mvh.