Miami County considers veterans housing development

Veterans around the Miami Valley will be getting another tool to help them find services they need as Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain is launching an advisory group called Voices for Vets slated to begin in January.
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Veterans around the Miami Valley will be getting another tool to help them find services they need as Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain is launching an advisory group called Voices for Vets slated to begin in January.

Commissioners support proposal, which is in early planning stages

TROY — Miami County’s Veterans Services Office is proposing a Veterans Village that would provide independent living rental housing to veterans and veterans widows.

The project was discussed twice this month with the county commissioners by Selena Loyd, county veterans services executive director.

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“We are the veterans office and we want to take care of our veterans,” said Loyd, who is an Air Force veteran.

“We have a lot of older veterans with no family around,” she said, adding there is little housing fitting the needs of many veterans. The concept is to provide, “Nothing elaborate, just a community,” Loyd said

The state has two veterans homes — in Sandusky near Lake Erie, and in Georgetown southeast of Cincinnati. Miami County Veterans Services thinks something closer would be appropriate.

While the state’s two larger facilities provide nursing and memory care for 168 and 427 people respectively, the proposed local veterans village would, according to the initial concept, feature eight, two-bedroom homes with master suites and shared common spaces of kitchen and living area. The one-floor buildings would be designed to accommodate use of walkers and/or mobility assist needs.

A community center building would have office space and a large open room with kitchen amenities to provide a place for activities and family visitations and offices for a community manager and social worker.

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Project goals include providing independent living while also providing community support accountability, Loyd said.

The proposal is in the early stages with no concept drawings or budget. Work on more detailed planning would begin next year.

Commissioner Wade Westfall suggested a collaboration among groups on project aspects such as land.

The commissioners voiced support for a project while discussing with Loyd a proposal by veterans services to set aside a portion of the 0.5-mill tax levy that supports veterans services each year.

The office traditionally has returned money that goes into the general fund. The proposal is for half of the money that is returned each year to be set aside for this project for the next five years. Around $250,000 a year could be set aside for the project, according to comments during the presentations.

The village would be run through a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a board, with the veterans services director as board adviser. The nonprofit would allow for receipt of donated funds for maintenance along with veterans/widows support. A homeowners association would have fees for maintenance and similar needs.

All three commissioners supported the concept.

“I think it is a great thing. I think the funding is there. I just want to make sure it (the project) is continually maintained” in future years, said Commissioner Ted Mercer.

“I am very excited and I think it’s a very, very good plan,” said Commissioner Greg Simmons. “I like your forward thinking on this.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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