Lower residency requirement proposed for veterans’ homes

More people would be eligible to live in veterans’ homes under a bill heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Feb. 13.

Currently, an applicant for residency must have been a resident of the state for at least two years. Under LB805, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery, a person with Nebraska resident parents or children also would qualify.

Avery said the bill would allow veterans to be near family members in their waning years.

“[This bill would] provide an opportunity for families in Nebraska to bring their parents or children back to the state,” he said. “They have served their country and it makes no sense to not allow them to have the comfort of living close to their loved ones.”

Terry Schifferns, the daughter of a veteran, supported the bill. She said the current residency requirements prevented her family from bringing her father back to Nebraska from a veterans’ home in Iowa.

“I’ve lived here since 1974. We could have had someone visit him every day,” she said. “My father didn’t fight for Iowa or Nebraska. He went to Korea when he was asked and he fought for his country.”

Dennis Schissel, state council vice president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, opposed the bill. He said if veterans want to live in a Nebraska veterans’ home, they should become state residents and take their place on a waiting list.

“It is inequitable to the residents of this state who are qualified at the time of their application,” he said. “Changing the requirements could displace current residents and lead to an influx of veterans from other states.”

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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