Governor Tom Vilsack unveiled a new loan program designed to encourage developers to build new assisted living centers for the state’s elderly. Governor Vilsack says the fund has five million dollars developers can access for loans to build alternatives to traditional nursing homes. He says it’s designed to create over 314 assisted living units over the course of the next two decades as we transition from nursing homes to assisted living. Vilsack says the program can have a big impact on Iowa’s elderly. He says the loan fund will create hundreds of more opportunities for seniors to have the benefit of assisted living. Vilsack says a second two-million-dollar loan fund will be available for programs that offer adult daycare or in-home services like respite care and congregate meals. The loans will be made out of the Senior Living Trust Fund — which was created for the state with Iowa’s share of the tobacco settlement. He says it was initially a grant program, but to make sure that there are always funds, he says the legislature authorized it to be a loan program. Governor Vilsack announced the loan program while speaking to the Older Iowan’s Legislature. The Governor also told the group that meets once a year that he’s forming a new senior cabinet made up of department heads from Elder Affairs, Human Services, Inspections and Appeals, and Public Health. Vilsack says he’ll meet with the cabinet regularly to discuss improving services for seniors.
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