BOSTON (WWLP) – Both the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ homes have been under fire since the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that tore through both homes.

Earlier this month, a scathing letter from the Inspector General’s office regarding the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea was sent and the details of the letter are alarming. The letter addressed to outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, cited unacceptable living conditions in the Chelsea home, with the report even stating that veterans were found “soaked in urine and sitting in feces.”

Former Superintendent Eric Johnson was fired last Thursday. In the letter, the Inspector General states that Johnson lacked “the capacity and integrity to manage the Home”. Due to this, Senator John Velis of Westfield is calling for renewed attention to the home. The letter draws connections to the problems the office also found at the Soldiers’ Home In Holyoke.

Senator Velis visited the Chelsea home Tuesday and said conditions were cleaned up, but that more still needs to be done. “The moral of the story is never again. This is never going to happen again in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we’re going to do everything we can whether its legislatively, executively, or with this working group, to root out anything bad that’s happening at this home, the Holyoke home, or any homes in the future.”

On top of the deplorable conditions found at the Chelsea home, the letter also stated that Johnson ran the home through fear and possible retaliation.

Similar complaints were made against the Soldiers’ Home In Holyoke Superintendent Bennet Walsh, who resigned in 2020.

Legislation that will go into effect in March will create a cabinet-level position for Veteran Services so they have a direct line to the Governor moving forward.