Fighting for Veterans Future in Florida

As a proud Navy veteran, Governor Scott is committed to making Florida the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation. The Governor believes that those who so bravely serve the United States should be offered all available resources and support to ensure they are successful and able to provide for their families. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $102 million in total funding to support active military, veterans and their families.

Supporting Military and their Families – The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $24 million for Florida’s military presence and families, which funds the state’s support of military research and development. This includes the following:
$2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force; $3.2 million for the Defense Infrastructure Program; $3 million for military base protection, including additional security measures for National Guard armories; $6 million for National Guard armories $3.4 million for armory maintenance $750,000 to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher education degrees; and $5.8 million to support scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans.

Connecting Veterans with the Benefits They Deserve
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $768,000 to add 10 additional Veterans’ Claims Examiners at the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans’ Claims Examiners are counselors who are responsible for connecting Florida veterans with the federal Veterans Affairs benefits they are entitled to after so bravely serving the United States. Last year, Florida’s 74 Veterans’ Claims Examiners secured $269 million in total federal compensation for Florida veterans and their families.

Expanding Crisis Support Services for Veterans Statewide
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget builds on Florida’s success as the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation by providing more than $350,000 to expand the Crisis Center Support Line for Veterans beyond the Tampa region. This new, statewide dedicated telephone line (1-844-MYFLVET) will help veterans in need who are facing delays at the federal level by connecting them with local call centers where they can receive referrals to community health services and other community resources. This includes employment, financial, legal, transportation, housing, and other assistance. More than 4,300 veterans in all 67 Florida counties will benefit - an almost fivefold increase over the program’s current capacity. Governor Scott also recommended this funding in his 2016-17 Florida First budget.

Building Homes for Heroes
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $1 million for Building Homes for Heroes to build and modify homes for veterans who were severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Building Homes for Heroes supports neighborhood economic advancement and positively impacts construction growth within 32 communities across Florida. Last year, Building Homes for Heroes built or modified 19 project homes which had a projected value exceeding $4 million.

The Florida Defense Support Task Force
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force. The task force is charged with representing the state’s military interests and for strengthening state support for military families and veterans with an emphasis on education, healthcare, employment and family programs.

Veterans Treatment Courts
Governor Scott recognizes that Veterans Treatment Courts provide a valuable service in diverting veterans with mental health and substance abuse treatment needs from the criminal justice system. Governor Scott has supported the expansion of these courts throughout the state. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget reflects the Governor’s support of Veterans Treatment Courts and recommends $1.4 million to continue funding these courts throughout Florida.

Jobs for Florida’s Veterans
Governor Scott is focused on ensuring Florida remains the most military-friendly state in the nation and that veterans in Florida have every opportunity to succeed by getting a great job upon returning home. That is why the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $2.5 million to support veterans looking to obtain employment, start their own businesses and make Florida their home. This funding includes:
$1 million to assist Florida businesses in training and hiring veterans; $500,000 to support universities offering veteran entrepreneur training to create or sustain veteran-owned businesses; and $1 million so that Florida is for Veterans can market Florida worldwide as the most veteran friendly state in the nation.

Supporting Florida’s Veterans in Their Communities The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $3.4 million to continue supporting the daily operations of Florida’s six state-run veterans’ nursing homes and one assisted living facility. These facilities provide essential services and care to veterans throughout Florida.

The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget also recommends $20 million for the construction of the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port St. Lucie using the original traditional nursing home model.