Florida is home to twenty bases with every branch of the military represented. Over a million veterans who served their country live here, along with millions of military family members. In Congress, the first bill Charlie Crist got signed into law was his Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act to expand and support vet courts making sure veterans in trouble get the help they need instead of jail time.
Charlie has always been on the side of our servicemembers and veterans, that’s why Charlie wants Florida to be the number 1 state in the union for our and their families.
Charlie’s “Veterans for Crist” plan is a promise that as governor, Charlie will deliver for Florida veterans by fighting to:
- Lower cost of living
- End homelessness
- Enhance mental health services and expand veteran treatment courts
- Assist the VA in keeping its promises
LOWER THE COST OF LIVING FOR VETERANS
Lowering Property Taxes
As governor, Charlie will work to pass legislation that lowers property taxes for veterans. Charlie will fight to have the state pay property taxes for veterans who are 70% or more disabled, with a sliding scale down to 30%.
As governor, Charlie will fight to make toll roads completely free for veterans. Just send your Department of Veteran Affairs registration to SunPass, and Florida will take care of your tolls.
END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS
As governor, Charlie will work tirelessly to get every single veteran without a home into housing in Florida. Charlie will bring together federal and state resources and work alongside non-profits to find veterans in need of homes and veterans on housing waiting lists and work to quickly connect them to permanent and affordable housing.
Fully Fund The Sadowski Trust Fund
As governor, Charlie will restore funding to the affordable housing trust fund and veto any budget that fails to do so, without raising taxes. That means another $200 million a year for down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, repairs of older homes, and construction of affordable houses.
More and Bigger HUD VASH Units
To meet the existing need, Charlie will incentivize development of residential buildings with dedicated set-aside units for HUD-VASH vouchers. At least half of the veteran units will include two or more bedrooms to keep families together.
Improve Down Payment Assistance Programs
Charlie will strengthen existing homeownership programs like Hometown Heroes by making down payment assistance forgivable for veterans. Many of Florida’s down payment and closing cost assistance programs require immediate repayment upon sale, moving, or refinancing. For properties like mobile homes that do not appreciate as quickly or for permanent change of station, you could be left footing the bill. We should do better by those who serve.
Empower Local Governments
Charlie will appoint a Housing Czar who will report directly to the governor and be empowered to support the work of local governments to innovate and meet broad veteran housing affordability goals, while respecting the unique local differences in communities throughout our state. It should be easier, not harder, for local governments to add housing for veterans.
ENHANCE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND EXPAND VET COURTS
Charlie will fight for Medicaid expansion because veterans shouldn’t have to worry about going bankrupt when they’re sick. He knows that Medicaid expansion will save lives, lower premiums for everyone, keep tax dollars in our state, create jobs, grow the economy, keep rural hospitals open, and help more Florida veterans get the care they deserve. Charlie will veto any budget that does not include Medicaid expansion.
Legalize Marijuana and Fight Opioid Addiction
Congressman Crist will legalize marijuana in Florida and expunge all non-violent convictions. He will continue to lead in preventing discrimination in hiring for federal employees who use marijuana consistent with state law.
Expanding Medicaid will free up State Opioid Block Grant funding, which he will use to increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for veterans.
Truthful Suicide Data
Charlie will make sure state medical examiners determine the veteran status of a person who died by suicide. Currently, medical examiners only check with the VA to see if someone is a veteran, even though over half of veterans do not go to the VA. Medical examiners should also be checking with VSOs and veteran community leaders, especially for veterans who were in crisis. It will be the first time in Florida history that we will have an accurate count of the veterans who die by suicide. You cannot fix something if you do not know the full extent of the problem. Charlie has been calling on DeSantis to make this change, and as governor, he will get it done.
Expand Veterans Treatment Courts
Florida’s successful vet courts connect veterans with appropriate treatment like outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment, transitional housing, job training, and care for service-connected injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Military Sexual Trauma. When President Trump signed Charlie’s Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act into law, it opened the door to create and support vet courts throughout Florida, and as governor, Charlie will draw down maximum funds so every Florida veteran can benefit from a hand up when they need it.
ASSIST THE VA IN GETTING VETERANS WHAT THEY DESERVE
More Doctors in Florida
As governor, Charlie will recruit more doctors, nurses, and specialists to come to our Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Centers and get more veterans the care and prompt medical attention they deserve. With our beautiful weather, low taxes, environment, and quality of life, Florida should be the destination for medical professionals to work in the VA, and Charlie will work to fill these available jobs with vigor.
Support Veteran Law Centers
As governor, Charlie will work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and provide state funds to assist with the establishment and expansion of Veteran Law Centers within Florida’s law schools modeled on the success of programs like the Stetson Veterans Law Center.