U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a bipartisan group of senators are urging Senate appropriators to increase funding for a federal grant program that allows states to repair and construct long-term care facilities for our nation’s veterans.
The State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program provides federal funds to states for critical upgrades or construction of new facilities to serve local veterans. Due to budget constraints, the program funded only 10 of its 57 highest-priority projects this current fiscal year.
Two of the 47 unfunded projects are in Florida, including the renovations of the Alexander “Sandy” Nininger Veterans Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines and the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans Nursing Home in Port Charlotte. Nelson is urging his colleagues to increase funding for the program to help get the two Florida facilities renovated sooner.
“State Veterans Homes have a long history of helping ensure that veterans disabled by age, illness, or other conditions continue to receive the respect and dignity they have earned through their service,” Nelson and others wrote in a letter today to Senate appropriators. “These grant opportunities are important to ensure that each State Veterans Home facility continues to meet VA’s standards and delivers the highest caliber of care to veterans.”
State Veterans Homes are operated by state governments and partner with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide nursing home and adult day care services to elderly veterans and those with special medical needs.
In addition to Nelson, the letter sent today was signed by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and others.
Below is the full text of the letter, and a signed PDF copy can be found here.
Dear Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Schatz:
As the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies considers appropriations for the 2018 fiscal year, we respectfully ask that you provide robust funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) State Home Construction Grant Program. Continued federal support for VA State Homes will build on the success of these facilities in serving the long-term care needs of our country’s veterans.
State Veterans Homes have a long history of helping ensure that veterans disabled by age, illness, or other conditions continue to receive the respect and dignity they have earned through their service. Operated by state governments, these facilities play important roles in the effort to address the unique health and quality of life needs of each state’s veteran population. The VA partners with certified state homes to provide nursing home, domiciliary, and adult day care services to critical segments of the veteran population with continuing or special medical needs, including thousands of elderly veterans.
Federal funds made available through the VA State Home Construction Grant Program allow states to make critical renovations and upgrades to existing facilities and construct new facilities to serve the aging veteran population. These grant opportunities are important to ensure that each State Veterans Home facility continues to meet VA’s standards and delivers the highest caliber of care to veterans. The growing backlog of more than 100 construction and renovation projects across the country, the majority of which have already secured matching state appropriations, presents challenges to meeting the long-term care needs of these veterans, particularly in rural states or states lacking alternate VA-certified facilities.
We recognize the difficult budgetary decisions that the Subcommittee is facing. However, we want to underscore that robust funding for the VA State Home Construction Grant Program will allow State Homes to continue to provide high-quality care for our country’s elderly veterans and veterans with long-term medical needs. Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your continued support in ensuring our nation’s veterans live with dignity.