May 15, 2020
Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre, Mayor City of Barstow
Barstow Veteran’s Home: Response to Governor
I am greatly disappointed by the Governor’s most recent budget proposal, which includes plans to close the Barstow veteran’s home, an integral part of our community since 1996. The veteran’s home provides California veterans with invaluable services, supporting a quality of life that may be unachievable without assisted living. This home gives veterans who fought for our freedom the ability to live with dignity and self-reliance. It would be a tragedy to jeopardize the security and safety of over 200 residents by closing this facility.
The Barstow and high desert region has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in all of California. The Barstow veteran’s home was selected as a location in 1996 because of its unique proximity to multiple military installations, including Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base, the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, and Edwards Air Force Base.
The displacement of our brave and honorable veterans is a disservice to an already vulnerable population. In a time when we have promoted the sanctity of staying at the place we call home, it is astonishing that our Governor proposes stripping an at-risk population of their place of residence. The budget proposal claims that closing it will only save the state $400,000 in this budget year. However, according to Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, “the loss of per-diem paid to the state by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for these residents will cost $3 million per year.” Closing this facility does not make sense.
Each year, the Barstow region hosts the Annual Long Walk and Memorial Walk, hosted by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. It is a unique opportunity for our veterans to connect with the active duty military who make the walk from the historic Harvey House to the veteran’s home. It is a time when stories are shared, jokes are made, and friendships bloom. This inspiring event would be lost without the veteran’s home, leaving a void in not only the veterans’ hearts who look forward to the event every year, but also for our brave men and women fighting for our country who look forward to connecting with some they call heroes.
Though the Governor has made his proposal, we will continue to prove that the Veteran’s Home California – Barstow is not only an invaluable part of the Barstow community, but also an invaluable service to more than 200 residents who call it home.