Governor outlines proposed funding plan for new veterans' home
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday he wants more veterans off waiting lists and into Missouri Veterans' Homes across the state.
"For every veteran receiving quality medical care and services at one of our veterans' homes, there's a veteran who is on the waiting list because there's not enough space," Nixon said.
There are currently 1,973 veterans waiting to move into one of the seven existing full-time care facilities in Missouri. At the homes, eligible retired and disabled veterans have access to skilled nursing care, a range of therapies and the chance to experience the camaraderie of living among veterans like themselves. The homes also have special wings reserved for veterans suffering from dementia.
In Nixons' speech to the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations in Jefferson City Monday afternoon, Nixon stressed that renovations to the existing homes and financing the construction of an additional home would be the best way to spend some of the funds obtained from a bond issuance for new construction.
He said long-term projects like these lend themselves to bond financing because of low interest rates and a go-ahead for construction from the legislature.
"It's kind of like buying a house," he said. "It's sometimes more cost effective to people to do that over a period of time. I think that these bond issues happen not that often and when you get in a situation to do it, I think it's important to line up what your priorities are."
He said, as more Vietnam veterans are retiring, this is the time to move forward with additional veterans housing.
"We just need to get that waiting list down," he said.
Nixon proposed using funds from issued bonds to complete $14.5 million in repair and renovations to the existing veterans homes. He gave specific examples of some of the work needed.
- In Cape Girardeau, renovation of nurses' stations, restrooms and resident kitchens.
- In Mexico, replacing first floor flooring and constructing bariatric showers on the first and third floors
- In St. James, replacing fire alarm and nurse call stations, renovating the main kitchen and building an addition to the solarium
- In St. Louis, renovating the entrance and lobby areas