State Grappling With Costs Of Veterans Homes

Michael Gardner | | May 6, 2013

Focus is increasing on serving younger veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan wars

Pressure is mounting on California officials to contain the ballooning costs of retirement homes for veterans so more money can be freed to provide other essential services for the next generation just returning home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bottom line numbers show taxpayers spend a lot of money to serve relatively few residents of veterans homes: nearly $190 million for about 2,000 veterans in 2011-12.

A state audit of veteran homes due out Thursday is expected to expose systemwide failings and questionable spending — as well as provide a guide for reforms.

The actual cost to the state general fund is eased somewhat by federal payments, insurance and other reimbursements. But the push is on to find savings.