A nonprofit group that runs veterans homes in Maine said Tuesday it has no choice but to close two facilities despite calls from state officials to keep them open.
Maine Veterans’ Homes in Machias and Caribou are expected to close this spring. Maine’s congressional delegation, Gov. Janet Mills and others have said the closures would have dire consequences for veterans in the state.
But the closure of the two homes is “the only course we have to best serve our veterans in the future,” Christine Henson, a spokesperson for Maine Veterans’ Homes, said Tuesday. Henson said the organization has 640 beds across its homes and is caring for only 384 veterans.
Maine Veterans’ Homes “cannot continue to shoulder the extreme losses of keeping Machias and Caribou open without degrading the quality of care across the system,” Henson said. The organization is also concerned that funding will not overcome a declining veteran population and workforce crisis that it is currently facing, she said.
The American Legion Department of Maine also has called on Maine Veterans’ Homes to keep the facilities open. It said in a letter that closure would “affect the most vulnerable of Maine’s veteran populations.”