U.S. senators, Daines push for veteran home funding

By Missoula Current

Montana Sen. Steve Daines and a group of U.S. senators sent a letter to the Veterans Affairs subcommittee this week, urging it to support funding for State Veteran Homes that provide long-term care to aging veterans.

The letter, sent to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, suggests that a growing backlog of construction projects are limiting the ability of State Veteran Homes to provide veteran care.

“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 needs of these veterans, particularly in rural states, or states lacking alternate VA-certified facilities,” Daines said.

Federal funds provided by the State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program allow states to make facility upgrades, or construct new facilities to serve aging veteran populations.

During the current fiscal year, only 10 of the 57 highest priority projects were funded, resulting in a backlog of facilities requiring upgrades or new construction, Daines said.

The homes provide nursing care and adult day care services to veterans with special medical needs.

“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,” Daines stated.

The letter, issued on May 3 and signed by 28 senators, acknowledges the budgetary issues facing the subcommittee.

“However,” the letter adds, “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.”