VA grants funding for new state veterans’ nursing homes
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has received official notification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs assuring federal construction grant funding for additional state veterans’ nursing homes in Florence and Gaffney.
Under the terms of the grant, the Veterans Administration will provide up to $28,539,163.90 of the required funding for construction of the nursing home in Florence, and up to $29,412,178.90 of the required funding for construction of the nursing home in Gaffney with South Carolina providing the remaining funding. The total cost of the two projects together will be in excess of $115 million, and will have a significant positive ongoing economic impact for the state.
SCDMH is the agency designated by statute to operate South Carolina’s state veterans nursing homes. The Department currently operates three such facilities: the 90-bed E. Roy Stone Pavilion in Columbia, the 220-bed Richard E. Campbell State Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, and the 220-bed Veterans Victory House in Walterboro.
Anticipating a growing veteran population, SCDMH applied for funds in 2015 to construct additional state veterans nursing homes. Funding became available in 2018, and the agency moved ahead with final design activities and necessary approvals to bid the projects in January 2019.
The construction contracts have been awarded and preliminary site work began in early May. It is projected that the new facilities will likely be ready for occupancy and open in the summer of 2021. The projects are expected to have a significant impact on the local economies of Florence and Cherokee counties, both during the construction phase, and a recurring annual impact when the nursing homes open; more than 100 new jobs will be added to the local economy at each of the sites.
“Among the many important missions given to SCDMH, providing nursing care for our state’s veterans is one that the Department takes great pride in,” noted recently retired SCDMH State Director John H. Magill. “With the increased capacity and added locations, veterans and their families can look forward to being able to access care closer to home.”
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 citizens with mental illnesses, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents, and provides outpatient services through a network of 16 community mental health centers and numerous clinics. It also operates multiple inpatient hospitals, including one for substance use treatment, one community nursing care center, and three veterans’ nursing homes.