Central State Hospital planning independent living facility for homeless disabled veterans
Rivers State Prison on Central State Hospital’s campus closed about 10 years ago. The run-down buildings, locked gates, and barbed-wire fences are a reminder of the past. The hospital is now looking toward the future.
“Fits right into what we’re doing. I’ve always said Central State Hospital is a place of hope,” Mike Couch, the executive director of the Central State Hospital Redevelopment Authority said.
Hope for those who served and protected our country. Couch wants to tear down the old prison and build a new cottage community. It would be an independent living facility for homeless veterans who served after 9/11 and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.
“This will give them a place to live, a place where they can get some therapy done, and also occupational therapy so we can get them back home as soon as possible,” Couch said.
Each of the 300 cottages would be equipped with cutting edge technology to help prevent any injuries.
“The veteran wears a very small device, it looks like a wristwatch. The monitoring devices are built into the floor and the doors of the cottages,” Couch said. “And then if an issue happens for the veteran, it alerts a nurse or staff member to come check on them.”
Sensors in the mattresses and chairs would prevent bed sores. There would also be an automatic medication dispensary.
Couch estimated the federally funded project would cost about $18 million. He believes it’s a worthwhile investment to ensure all veterans get the care they deserve, while letting them live on their own.
“It’s the most deserving population. I can recognize that need,” he said.
The redevelopment authority is working with the Georgia War Veterans Home and Georgia Tech on this project.
Couch is also talking with Senator Johnny Isakson about the idea. 41NBC reached out to Isakson’s office, but was told it was too early for him to comment on the project. Couch plans to meet with Isakson and other leaders about the concept this summer.
Couch tells 41NBC this would be the first community of its kind and he hopes it could develop into a national model.