Governor Doug Ducey is asking the head of Veteran's Affairs to speed up funding for two new housing facilities in Arizona.
There are currently two veteran home facilities in our state, in Phoenix and Tucson, that provide live-in medical care, rehabilitation and counseling services. The state is facing a 1200 bed shortage in the next three years.
The plan is to build two more in Flagstaff and Yuma.
Arizona has already allocated more than $19 million. Governor Ducey has sent a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin asking he speed up the process to match those funds.
New veteran homes couldn't come at a more critical time. Arizona State University's Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety is out with a new report showing the number of veteran suicides in our state has skyrocketed.
Arizona now leads the nation in veteran suicides. According to the report, of the 877 people who took their own lives in 2016, 277 were veterans.
Averaging the rate per 100,000 veterans by county, Mohave (90.9), Graham (83.4), Navajo (70.9) and Yavapai (69.8) counties were higher than the state average. Maricopa (54.4) and Pima (42) counties, where there are veteran homes, were below the average.
Governor Ducey is also asking Secretary Shulkin about potential funding for a third veteran home in northwest Arizona.