Governor Jay Nixon said Monday he wants to help Missouri’s veterans by reducing the wait list at the state’s veterans’ homes.

“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,” said Nixon.

Each home has registered nurses on duty 24 hours a day, provides physician care, therapy, and social services for residents.  The homes also have special care units reserved for veterans suffering from dementia.  Missouri Veterans Commission spokesman Daniel Bell says there are about 2,000 veterans waiting to get into one of the state’s seven homes.

Governor Jay Nixon speaks to the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations

Governor Jay Nixon speaks to the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations

“Right now, the wait times to get into the homes can run anywhere from six to eighteen months based on the level of care needed.” said Bell.

The governor outlined his proposal to the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations.  The plan calls for $14.5 million dollars to repair and renovate four of the existing homes and to build a new one.

“With our AAA credit rating and low interests rates, a bond issuance is a prudent, responsible way to make these kinds of needed improvements,” said Nixon.  “Because the legislature took the first step last year by authorizing additional bonding capacity for improvements to state buildings, that means we can move forward quickly this year to get these repair and renovation projects underway.”

There are nearly a half a million veterans currently living in Missouri.  Nixon said as more Vietnam veterans retire, this is the time to move forward with additional veterans’ housing.  Nixon is proposing that the new veterans’ home be part of a bond issuance for new construction, with an estimated cost of $45 to $50 million.