U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded $4,156,722 to the State of Illinois to support the cost of 2016 renovations of the domestic water system for Legionella control at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.
The VA provides reimbursements for 2/3 of eligible State Veterans’ Home construction and renovations projects, in addition to providing ongoing financial and technical support to the Illinois Veterans’ Home, but requires states to fully complete request paperwork in order to award reimbursement funding. This funding comes nearly two months after Governor Bruce Rauner announced a detailed plan of action for ensuring the safety of residents, family and staff at the Illinois Veterans’ Home.
Durbin and Duckworth also spoke Tuesday with the new Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Stephen Curda, to receive the latest status updates on the state’s plan of action to address Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and discuss federal VA assistance.
“While the Illinois Veterans’ Home is owned and operated by the State of Illinois, Senator Duckworth and I have been clear that the federal government is here to help,” Durbin said. “This funding will be a needed boost to Quincy, but there is much more work to be done. We continue to push Governor Rauner to uphold his promise to the veterans, residents, and family members of those living at Illinois Veterans’ Home to reach zero instances of Legionella infection.”
“Senator Durbin and I are continuing to push for and deliver on our commitment to bring federal resources to the Illinois Veterans’ Home,” Duckworth said. “Congress recently passed a bipartisan funding bill that infuses hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding for State Veterans’ home construction projects. The State of Illinois must now do its part and follow through on plans to help ensure Quincy receives all federal funding its eligible for, without delay. Our Veterans—and their families—deserve the very best, and this funding is a step in the right direction.”
Since 2015, Illinois state officials have been unable to contain an ongoing Legionnaires’ disease crisis at the 132-year-old IVH facility in Quincy, which has claimed the lives of 13 veterans.