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Collier, Lee, Polk Top List for Veterans' Homes

Bobbie O'Brien
WUSF Public Media

The state has identified three communities in critical need of a veterans’ nursing home. Collier, Lee and Polk counties top of that list.

Right now, there is only one empty bed among the 720 beds at the six, state-run veterans’ nursing homes the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs told Florida cabinet members this morning.

The Florida VA studied where to build additional veterans’ nursing homes. Executive director Mike Prendergast said the results showed a high need for veterans’ homes in three different areas of the state.

“The first area of need is in the southwest corner of the state, Collier and Lee counties,” Prendergast said. “Collier County actually scored the highest based upon the criteria selected. The second area is the Polk, Manatee and Hillsborough service area. And among those Polk County is ranked number three.”

The third area is in north-central Florida including Marion, Putnam and Sumter counties.

The Florida VA will request proposals from each of the communities, weigh each county’s plan for a veterans nursing facility and then present its final recommendations to the cabinet for approval and legislature for funding.

The federal government, which pays two-thirds of the cost, has approved funding for two new veterans’ homes in Florida. The governor’s budget also calls for funding two new homes in the current fiscal year. 

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