State lawmakers reject plan to close Barstow veterans home

About 200 veterans who were in danger of being evicted from their home in Barstow have a reprieve for now.
BARSTOW, Calif. (KABC) -- About 200 veterans who were in danger of being evicted from their home in Barstow have a reprieve for now.

State lawmakers on Monday approved a state budget plan that does not include Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal to close the veterans home in Barstow.

The decision is not final, as Newsom still must approve the state's 2020-21 budget - and he is not expected to sign the overall plan into law in its current form.

Lawmakers passed the budget plan on Monday to meet a constitutional deadline, and leaders are expected to continue negotiations with Newsom on the plan for the new fiscal year which begins July 1.

Still, a state lawmaker who represents the Barstow area praised the plan to save the home.

"I am elated that the Legislature has rejected the Governor's proposal to close the Barstow Veterans Home," Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, said. "This budget also includes a guarantee that not a single veteran in this home may ever be involuntarily displaced. Keeping this vital facility open is a huge victory for our veterans, their families, and our community."

The Barstow home opened in 1996 and has 220 beds, providing different levels of medical care for veterans as well as meals and services like transportation.

Earlier this year, Newsom announced the state was facing a projected $54 billion deficit in the budget, much of it due to the coronavirus crisis. Among many cuts he proposed was closing the Barstow facility.

The move was expected to trim only $400,000 out of next year's budget, but would eventually save $14 million annually when implemented.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

RELATED: Memorial Day parade held to support keeping Barstow veterans home open
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Hundreds came out to Barstow on Memorial Day to show their support for a group of veterans who are fighting to stay in their home after state budget cuts placed their housing on the chopping block. "We shouldn't be balancing the budget on the backs of veterans who've already paid their debt."

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