Veterans living and working in our state have a $4.5 to $5 billion impact on our economy. We are constantly working to make Arkansas a better place to live for our veterans. One major focus in recent years has been in the area of long-term care.
This week members of the Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee were given a tour of the new veteran’s home located in North Little Rock.
This is not your typical long-term care facility. There are eight separate cabins called Hero Homes. Each home has 12 individual rooms with private bathrooms. When you enter the door, you walk into an open gourmet kitchen. There’s a living area with a fireplace and a table long enough to accommodate the all the residents of one unit and staff.
There is one staffer to every three residents and most staff are either veterans themselves or they have a veteran in their immediate family.
In 2013, the General Assembly passed legislation which paved the way for this facility. At that time a veteran’s home in central Arkansas had recently closed its doors due to extreme disrepair. Members that year also appropriated $7.5 million from state surplus to help match money from the federal government.
A growing aging veteran population increases the need for quality long-term care. Close to 40 percent of veterans in the country are over the age of 65.
We have more work ahead. Our state has just two veteran homes. The other home, located in Fayetteville, is in need of upgrades. The Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs will continue to update us on possible solutions in the months ahead.
In the meantime, we want to alert you to two events taking place in the state. Veterans and their families are encouraged to attend the following events to see what benefits may be available to them:
Little Rock Eligibility Fair October 28, 2017 9a-1p
Pulaski County Regional Building
501 West Markham
Little Rock, Arkansas
Pine Bluff Eligibility Fair November 4, 2017 9a-1p
Pine Bluff Convention Center
One Convention Center Plaza
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
You can learn more at www.veterans.arkansas.gov.