Home is Where the Heart is: How Fisher House is Changing Lives for the Families of Veterans.

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We see the struggle of wounded veterans all the time after returning from combat and their lengthy recovery process. The ones who often get overlooked are the families of those wounded veterans who are left in an equally difficult position. Luckily, there is a helping hand that can offer a warm bed to those family members while their loved ones are receiving treatment for injuries sustained during their service.

Known mostly for their network of comfort homes, the Fisher House Foundation is a place where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. Conveniently located a major military and VA medical centers nationwide, these homes are close to the medical centers they serve. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since its inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $282 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.

Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses, and children of fallen and disabled veterans.

A Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available. There are 65 Fisher Houses located on 24 military installations and 24 VA medical centers. Many more houses are under construction or in design.

Typically, these houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square foot homes donated by the Fisher family and Fisher House Foundation. Each house is designed to provide 8 to 21 suites. All are professionally furnished and decorated in the ton and style of the local region. The houses can accommodate 16 to 42 family members. Newest houses are 100% handicap accessible and include elevators. A Fisher House is a temporary residence and is not a treatment facility, hospice, or counseling center.

Fisher Houses are given to the U.S. Government as gifts. Military service secretaries and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the homes. The Fisher House Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, builds new houses and assists in the coordination of private support and encourages public support for the homes.

Fisher House homes and the Fisher House Foundation is a beacon of hope for families facing a dark and uncertain time. By providing a cost free refuge for the families of wounded veterans, the family members can focus on being there for the family member receiving treatment rather than facing a daunting hotel bill. It may not be their home, but it’s a home away from home while their loved one receives the treatment they need. For more information on Fisher House homes or the Fisher House Foundation, visit www.fisherhouse.org for more information.