A constitutional amendment that aims to construct a new veteran’s nursing home is moving through the Missouri House. The House gave its initial approval on Wednesday, April 29.
The measure would give Missouri voters the ability to decide on the creation of new bonds that would pay for the construction of this new home. Those bonds could total up to $50 million, which is the estimated cost of the project.
Missouri currently has seven veteran’s homes, and about 2,000 veterans are on the wait list. The new veteran’s home would have room for 150 beds.
Rep. Lindell Shumake (R-Hannibal) is the bill’s sponsor and said the state needs to address veterans’ need for long-term care.
“It’s not a new problem and it’s been needing attention for a long time,” Shumake said.
Shumake said if approved by Missouri voters, the new home would likely go in an area that’s near a major highway, and has available land space and utilities.
Missouri Veterans Commission Spokesman Daniel Bell said the commission is currently trying to identify where most of the state’s veterans live in order to find the best place for a possible new home. He also said the high number on the waitlist could be because Korean and Vietnam-era veterans are at the age of needing long-term care.
“You also have to look down the road at the veterans and military who are currently serving,” Bell said. “They’re now surviving battlefield injuries that in the past they wouldn’t have, so that need for long-term skilled nursing care is going to become more evident as they age.”
Shumake said that while the legislature is generally supportive of the measure, the $50-million price tag on the project could hold it back.