The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

December 27, 2013

Our View: Scrutinize vets housing funding

Why it matters: Determining how best to use state bonding money on veterans housing will serve taxpayers

(Continued)

He contended that the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has been running housing efficiently since it took over the task over running the state’s five veterans homes in 2007. He said he believes centralization allows Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to provide consistent services to veterans. He strongly objected to the committee’s report, which was passed unanimously, according to the PIM report.

Hausman wants to consider some of the committee’s recommendations in next year’s bonding bill discussions, where some $80 million in bonding may be available for affordable housing throughout the state. She’d like to see some of that go toward veterans housing, according to PIM.

It appears that there will be a conflict brewing between current administrators of veterans housing and the Legislature which would like to look at new ways of doing things.

Shellito has his backers as well. The longtime leader of the Minnesota National Guard, Shellito, a major general, was appointed to his post by Gov. Mark Dayton and gained endorsements from Minnesota First District Congressman Tim Walz, a veteran himself, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Clearly, $500,000 for a 100 bed expansion of the Minneapolis facility seems out of line with reality. That number may be adjusted if Minnesota gets approved for more beds from the federal government, which will evaluate the need in 2014. Community-based housing for veterans makes some sense because there are veterans in need of housing all over the state.

Let’s hope reasonable people will agree to disagree on some of the more minor issues and funds are allocated in a way that serves veterans and provides value for taxpayers.

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