In June 1990, philanthropists Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher of New York City offered to fund and build "comfort homes" on the grounds of military and veteran hospitals across the country. Today there are 25 Fisher Houses on 16 military installations and four Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. These houses represent an investment of more than $20 million.
Fisher House provides temporary lodging in a "home away from home" atmosphere to families of seriously ill patients being treated at military and Department of Veteran Affairs medical centers. Each uniquely designed house have eight suites and a common living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry room.
House construction is supervised by Rosen Associates Management Corp. of Jericho and carried out by employees on a no-fee basis. Rosen Associates Management Corp. employees donate their time to plan, design and oversee the construction of each house, while providing employment and volunteering opportunities in the local communities where the houses are located.
Built on government property, these houses are operated and maintained by the respective branch of the armed services. In the past year, 150,000 lodging days were provided to nearly 6,000 military or veteran families. With most houses having only a single employee as manager, the program depends on volunteers for its daily operation and growth. More than 3,000 "Friends of Fisher House" including individual volunteers, entire military units, veterans and service organizations donated more than 27,000 hours supporting the families who were guests at the houses. Volunteers cooked meals, donated books and flowers, baby-sat and provided needed transportation. In addition, volunteers managed fundraising activities and businesses and organizations gave donations and gifts-in-kind.
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher have received several letters from former guests thanking them and their volunteers for the comfort they experience and the assistance they received while at a Fisher House.