The veterans flew American flags as they made their way from Madera to the veterans home. They then joined together outside the gates, demanding money to get it open. The price tag on the project is estimated at more than $120 million. It's currently costing $161,000 a month to maintain the property, even as it sits empty. "It's an insult that those who fought for our country are forced to live in the streets and we have this beautiful home sitting here," said veteran John Schuler.
This week, the California Senate Budget Committee approved $10.6 million dollars to begin the process of opening homes in Fresno and Redding. Together, they would house 450 veterans but Deputy Secretary for the State Department of Veterans Affairs J.P. Tremblay said that in the current budget shortfall, it's hard for the governor to justify new programs. "They are new programs, they don't have any residents in them. We do have other homes and they haven't been hit by any of the cuts that we've had to take or the state has had to take," Tremblay.
If approved, the facility could open as soon as July of 2013. If the governor doesn't approve the funding, it could be years before veterans call the building home.