The Co-Leader of the Iowa Senate says next week legislators will vote to provide three million dollars to three programs that help veterans and military families. Senate Co-Leader Michael Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says the first program provides college tuition grants to people who enlist in the Iowa National Guard. The second program gives grants to Iowa National Guard soldiers coming home from active duty to help them buy their first home. Gronstal says the one-million dollars worth of grants in that housing assistance program ran out in about four-and-a-half months.
The governor on Tuesday asked that the first bill legislators send him this year provide payments to Iowa Guard and Reserve soldiers who’ve been severely injured on active duty. Vilsack proposes a payment of up to 10-thousand dollars to the Guard members or Reservists who suffer serious injuries. Gronstal says the first-time homebuyer’s grants to returning veterans were incredibly popular. “Getting those great citizen/soldiers to settle in Iowa and helping them buy a home here in Iowa just makes a lot of sense,” Gronstal says.
Gronstal says returning vets can bring vibrancy to the state. This past year, two-hundred-37 men and women who were on active duty sometime in the past four years got state help in buying their first home through the program. Lyndsay Thrane, a member of the Iowa National Guard, returned last February after serving in Kuwait for a year. This summer she bought a home in Urbandale with a five-hundred dollar grant from the program. “It’s awesome that the State of Iowa backs up their veterans,” Thrane says. “Just a huge thank you. There’s just not enough words.” No other state offers first-time homebuyers grants to returning Guard and Reserve members.