Gov. Tony Knowles introduced legislation today to create Alaska Pioneers' and Veterans' Homes, emphasizing a new veterans preference within the six existing state-run facilities.
Knowles also offered a separate bill to put the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council, created by his administrative order in 1996, into law.
The governor is asking the Legislature for almost $2.5 million to fill 100 vacant beds in the 600-bed Pioneers' Home system. Residents would contribute about $2.6 million more in fees to live in the assisted-living, nursing and boarding homes.
Knowles also wants lawmakers to approve $200,000 for a study on veterans' housing and health-care needs. Administration Commissioner Jim Duncan said there is the possibility of a federal grant, as well, because of the innovative approach being taken.