The Fisher House Foundation: Free Medical Housing for Families of Military and Veterans

The Fisher House Foundation is a nonprofit organization that builds comfort homes where military & veterans families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is receiving medical treatment.
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

The Military Wallet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Military Wallet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on The Military Wallet are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear, but does not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. The Military Wallet does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House Foundation is a nonprofit organization that builds comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge while their loved ones receive medical treatment. Fisher Houses are located on or near many major military installations and veterans’ medical centers across the world.

The size of each Fisher House varies greatly depending on the size of the installation. Most have between eight and 21 suites, with both private and shared rooms. Guests at Fisher House share a household kitchen, laundry room, dining area and living room. Family members can stay for the duration of medical treatment — up to three years, depending on each case.

Since the program was founded in 1990, the Fisher House Foundation has saved military and veteran families an estimated $500 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation relating to medical care.

This international nonprofit organization was established to improve the quality of life for members of our military community who require medical treatment. Other quality-of-life programs include the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs. There is also ongoing assistance to existing Fisher Houses scholarships for military veterans, and individual support during times of crisis.

History of Fisher House

Fisher Brothers is a real estate firm in New York City. It was founded in 1915 by Martin Fisher, who was later joined by his brothers Larry and Zachary. In 1990, second-generation partner Zachary Fisher heard about the need for military families to have access to free lodging while service members are undergoing medical care. He learned about this from Pauline Trost, wife of Admiral Carlisle Trost, former chief of naval operations.

The Fishers entered into a public-private partnership with the U.S. government, which allowed them to develop and build on government-owned land. After construction was complete, the homes were gifted back to the military to operate in perpetuity. Zachary wanted to ensure that military families could have a home away from home while managing medical care. Until his death in 1999, Zachary continued to use his own money to build Fisher Houses.

During government shutdowns, when death gratuity payments are suspended, the Fisher House Foundation has stepped up to cover them. These payments, amounting to $100,000, are for families of service members killed in action.

In 2019, Fisher Houses across the world served more than 30,000 military families.

Eligibility for Using a Fisher House

The commander or director of each medical center where Fisher Houses are located is responsible for establishing eligibility and priority. They set up the selection criteria for reserving a room. To determine if your medical visit qualifies you to stay at a nearby Fisher House, contact the house directly.

There is no charge to stay at a Fisher House. All room fees for military families are paid for by the Fisher House Foundation.

Fisher House has received some congressionally appropriated funds to cover the construction of new houses. However, once the home is gifted to the military, its revenue comes from voluntary donations from individuals and organizations. It also receives the income generated by a congressionally approved trust fund maintained by each branch of the military. Houses at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers receive support from U.S. tax dollars.

Rapid Plans for Growth

The first Fisher House opened in 1991 at what is now known as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The following year, six additional locations were opened across the country. There are over 85 houses in operation now in the U.S. and Germany. There is also an existing partnership with the University Hospitals Birmingham Charity in the United Kingdom.

Future Fisher Houses are highlighted on the foundation’s website. The decision on where to build is primarily based on need and approval from the board of directors.

How to Get Involved

Fisher House is always looking for volunteers to help run the houses. For more information, a complete listing of local houses can be found here.

If in-person volunteering is not possible for you, online options are available.

You can assign Fisher House as your Amazon charity through the Amazon Smile program. Each house generally has an established Amazon wish list that can be found on its info page.

Additional Fisher House Programs

Fisher House Foundation offers scholarships for military children, scholarships for military spouses and a Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship program. Additionally, the Hero Miles and Hotel for Heroes programs also offer support to the military community when medical disaster strikes.

Fisher House is one of many amazing military and veteran nonprofits whose mission is to support the military community so they are ready to serve.

About Post Author

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Reader Interactions

Leave A Comment:


About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertising Notice: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet; For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.