The VA provides competitive grants to states to construct new homes or expand, remodel, or alter current homes.
Construction funds are a combination of federal granted (65%), state bonded and pending community-provided monies (35%). The amount is to cover all consultant feeds, furnishings and construction costs. Land, utilities, road access and other expenses are not included. Of note, operational expenses are also separate.
The total estimated expenditures to operate one (1) new 72 bed facility is $10 million annually. Current State Veterans Homes are financed by three primary sources: State general fund appropriation (60%), Federal VA per diem (30%), and maintenance charges paid by Residents (10%). The maintenance charges are based on the Residents' ability to pay.
August 1, 2018 - Community to provide due diligence info on proposed site and site control
August 31, 2018 - Community contribution pledge amount
March 23, 2019 - Community contribution in escrow
April 1, 2019 - Application deadline for matching Federal VA grant
* Because all applications will be competing with other communities around the nation for federal grant funds, it will be beneficial for communities to provide the local funds as soon as possible to demonstrate the full commitment of state and community contributions to the project. This will allow the designer to maximize the design for the schematic package required for the Federal VA grant application.
The State Designer Selection Board (SDSB) will have various stakeholders involved in this decision, and the state agencies (MDVA, Admin and MMB) will only have one collective vote. Once selected, each design firm will analyze the site in a professional manner evaluate surveys, geotechnical testing and traffic considerations. The State Land Specialist will then begin the process of reviewing titles and abstracts. After the pre-design phase of work is completed by the design firm, the schematic drawings will be drafted and included in the VA federal funding application, due by April 2019.
Demand for grant funds exceeds available funding, so the VA maintains a rolling priority list. The list is updated annually and projects that do not receive funding remain on the list until they are funded or the applicant/state withdraws the application
The Federal VA construction list was greatly reduced this past year due to increased funding, that means new Minnesota Veterans Homes may have a higher possibility of being funded.
The federal VA has allocated 1,058 beds for the state of Minnesota; there are currently 824 in use at the five State Veterans Homes in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne, Minneapolis and Silver Bay. That leaves a balance of 234 beds.
Honorably discharged Veterans who entered service from Minnesota, or are current Residents, who served 181 consecutive days on active duty, unless discharged earlier because of disability incurred in the line of duty.
The spouse of an eligible Veteran who is at least 55 years old and meets residency requirements.
The Minnesota Veteran population is aging. There are currently more than 337,000 Veterans in the state of Minnesota, but the number of Veterans over the age of 75 is expected to increase by approximately 9% over the next 20 years. For more on the state Veteran population, view our Annual Report. It is also important to note that each of the four State Veterans Homes offering skilled nursing care to Veterans and spouses have waiting lists for admission.
Staffing is a very important element of the future Veteran Homes planning process. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is working closely with each community to identify education and employment resources that will help provide sustainable staffing solutions for each home. Senior leadership with MDVA will provide more information on this topic in the coming months.