ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) was notified that none of Minnesota’s new State Veterans Homes projects, located in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston, will receive federal funding this year.
The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released the State Home Construction Grants FY2020 Conditional Approvals.
“While we are disappointed that none of our new homes’ projects secured critical federal support in this funding cycle, we recognize that Minnesota is competing with other states’ projects for the same pool of federal money,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke. “We remain committed to these projects and will continue to pursue these funding requests going forward.”
Because demand for grant funds exceeds available funding, the VA maintains a rolling project funding 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 withdraws the application. The VA prioritizes funding for safety concerns at existing homes, funding for states which have not previously applied, and for those states with the highest “unmet bed need.”
The VA conditionally approved 22 projects in seven states for a total of $122.5 million that includes only one new construction project: a 64-bed facility in Post Falls, ID.
With 22 projects now approved, the list of projects seeking federal VA funding is now shorter. The three new Minnesota Veterans Homes projects – seeking $79 million total – are ranked the 39th, 40th and 41st projects on the FY 2020 Grants Priority List Group 1. The total value of Priority Group 1 applications on the FY 2020 Grants list is $512.6 million.
In 2018, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $33 million toward the cost of the projects. The funding plan is a combination of federal-granted (65 percent), state-bonded and pending community-provided monies (35 percent).
“We appreciate the Minnesota Legislature’s support of our Veterans and these projects,” Herke said. “We are committed to completing these projects and will leave in place our federal funding requests for all three new homes projects.”