PALO ALTO (KCBS)— The largest free hotel for veterans undergoing medical care has opened in Palo Alto. The $17 million Defenders Lodge can accommodate up to 104 vets in its state-of-the-art facility.

Veterans getting outpatient treatment, who may not have anywhere else to stay, will no longer have to pay $200 a night at nearby hotels. That comes as a huge relief to Air Force veteran Jonathan Freedman.

“When I have a medical need and I need to get some attention or I have an appointment, it’s always in the back of my mind. I’m thinking ‘how am I going to get down there? How am I going to pay for my lodging?’” Freedman said.

He considers it the biggest gift they could give one another.

Col. Bill Siegard, with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, said lodging costs was definitely a barrier to veterans seeking treatment.

“We found some of the wounded from previous wars who were sleeping out of cars (or) who would drive two hours away to find a hotel that would cost affordable to them.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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