The Maryland-based Fisher House Foundation, which offers free, hotel-like housing facilities for the families of military members and veterans receiving treatment at VA medical centers, has opened its sixth new location this year.
The foundation operates all over the world and opened its first home in the D.C. area 20 years ago. The new location in Huntington, West Virginia, is the 91st Fisher House in operation at military and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. When the West Virginia location opens this fall, there will be 49 locations that are part of VA health care systems and 42 serving military hospitals.
Other new additions this year include Ann Arbor, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; New Orleans; Richmond, Virginia; and Aurora, Colorado. The Richmond Fisher House is the second one at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. The new house in Aurora replaces an older facility that was built to serve a now-closed Army hospital.
Another is under construction in Kansas City, Missouri, with plans in 2021 for locations in Bay Pines, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; and Columbia, South Carolina.
All Fisher House locations offer free lodging for families while their loved ones undergo care at VA medical centers.
The foundation, which is based in Rockville, Maryland, works with VA hospitals to build the lodging facilities and then donates them to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which takes over management.
Each Fisher House location has up to 21 suites with private bedrooms and bathrooms. They also have a shared common kitchen, laundry facilities, dining room and living room.
The foundation never charges a lodging fee. It estimates that since its founding, it has saved military and veteran families $500 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
The first two Fisher Houses opened in 1991 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, dedicated by President George H.W. Bush, and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The Fisher House Foundation was founded by the late businessman and philanthropist Zachary Fisher after hearing of the need for housing for military families during hospitalizations.