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Nov 14, 2017

Arizona Governor Pushing for Accelerated Veterans Affairs Construction Funding

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In the last two years, the State of Arizona has appropriated $19.2 million for new veterans housing construction.

In 2015, the state put aside $9.2 million to build a 60-bed veterans facility slated for Yuma. Earlier this year, Arizona appropriated another $10 million for a similar project, also with 60 beds, in Flagstaff.

Those funds, say state officials, while substantial, are still only a third of what will be needed to build both new facilities. The rest is supposed to come from the federal Veterans Administration.

And that’s the problem.

Even though Arizona has been on a waiting list for several years asking for that funding, and the number of new veterans housing beds needed in the state is expected to surpass the 1,200 mark in the next three years, Washington has still not come through with the needed support.

Now Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, in an open letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin, has asked that the process for securing funds be speeded up, noting “the sooner we can secure those dollars, the sooner we can ensure our veterans are repaid for the services provided to our great nation.”

Besides the Yuma and Flagstaff projects, Arizona officials would also like to build a third new veterans facility in Mohave County in the northwest corner of the state.

Shulkin earlier this year said he wanted to shorten the weight time for states that are hoping to receive federal funding for similar projects. He also pledged to emphasize the need for more facilities in rural areas, a procedure shift that could favor the Yuma project.

Arizona currently has more than 600,000 veterans, and two operating veterans homes in Phoenix and Tucson.

As is the practice in other states, Arizona hopes to build additional veterans homes in different geographic locations to make life more convenient both for the veterans and their visiting families.

 

By Garry Boulard

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