CHICAGO
12/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Illinois Still Short On Beds For Veterans


"For five years at least, probably longer, this state failed to fully fund its veterans homes," Phil Kadner writes in the SouthtownStar.

There was a waiting list of nearly 400 people waiting to get into one of the state's four homes. The average wait was more than 12 months.

This waiting list is so lengthy, according to Kadner, because the state won't adequately fund veteran's homes:

Several years back, Illinois spent $15 million building an 80-bed addition at the LaSalle Veterans Home. But in keeping with the state's tradition of underfunding veterans programs, it didn't allocate any money to open the addition in a timely fashion. This year, however, as Illinois proudly announced the opening of the addition, which includes an Alzheimer's unit, it said it would allocate enough money to staff 50 percent of the beds.

Let me remind you of how much it would have cost the state to open all 80 beds - $3.3 million. That's $3 million in a state budget estimated at $59 billion.

Read the entire article here.