MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- "This would be a great spot for that new home."
That’s Lee Washington with Manatee County Veteran Services, and he's talking about the possibility of a state-run nursing home for veterans being built in Manatee County.
"We oftentimes get a lot of folks that want to inquire about veterans homes or nursing facilities for veterans, and our nearest ones are in Port Charlotte and Land o’ Lakes,” Washington says. “And that's an hour north or an hour south, and that doesn't always work out that well."
Based on a recent study released by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a major need for additional homes for vets in Florida. The study recommended 10 sites, with Manatee County ranked fourth in the list of areas with the greatest need. That demand is something that Adell Erozer, with veteran support organization Turning Point, says her agency knows about all too well.
"We had 140 vets go through last year, and of course not all of them are in need of a nursing home,” Erozer says. “But even a percentage of those being able to be close to family and have that right here in Manatee County would be wonderful."
According to info from Manatee County Veteran Services there are more than 30,000 vets in the area, many of them with varying levels of need.
"Some of them aren't just elderly people, but people who have disabilities that need nursing care also," Erozer says.
Washington says it’s that demand that has led officials to start the application process and begin selecting possible locations.
"We've identified three sites that could work well with that -- one site is ... out on State Road 64, the other is in the Buffalo Creek area, and also there is a property that was purchases for transit operation off Erie Road," Washington says.
The application process will be completed in the next few weeks, with the final decision on a location coming in a few months.