(Memphis) Tens of thousands of veterans in Memphis and West Tennessee have no place to go when they need the most help.
There is not currently a nursing home specifically for veterans in this part of the state, and if they need medical help from one they must go more than one hundred miles away, creating problems for families who want to be close to their loved ones.
Michael Borders is a Desert Storm Veteran and is concerned there is no veterans’ nursing home in the area.
“That would be a great idea. The need is always there,” said Borders.
Borders isn’t alone.
There are an estimated 70,000 veteran in West Tennessee who are eligible but have no access to long-term or rehabilitative services.
Holly Swogger is president of the West Tennessee Veterans Home, which is working to raise the money to build a 144-bed nursing home.
”Veterans’ homes are very different from any other nursing home in that they meet the special requirements of veterans. Many suffer from the side effects of Agent Orange, amputations because of war injuries, PTSD,” said Swogger.
Building the care home will cost a total of $60 million.
Swogger and her group are responsible to raise $23 million, with the rest coming from the federal government.
The group says that over the next two years, they hope to get a lot of their funding from local governments.
So far, Shelby County has designated $2 million for the project. A reduction in non-profit giving could put that in question.
Swogger says the group is currently writing grants and working to find corporate sponsors.
The goal is to build five veterans homes in West Tennessee, with the first set to open in 2016 if they raise the money.
“I’m not elderly yet, but as I think about my retirement it’s nice to know I will have options available in that time,” said Borders.
Swogger says if the nursing home is run correctly, it would never need another subsidy from the government after its first year and it would bring almost 300 jobs per home.
There are currently three veterans homes in Tennessee, but they are in the eastern and central part of the state.