By Laura Saull-Smith and John Goode

Today, there are more than 23.8 million U.S. veterans living among us, with more than half of them aged 60 or older. As these service men and women advance in their years, they are going to increasingly count on healthcare providers to meet their medical and mental health needs. For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has offered generous benefits to help veterans pay for and receive such treatment.  Now, thanks to a new twist on a little-known VA property development program, those efforts could be aided even further.

In 1991, Congress authorized the VA to lease its own property to help develop facilities, goods and services that benefit veterans. The “enhanced use lease” program, as it is called, has helped the agency complete a host of projects in the intervening years, including office buildings, parking facilities, power plants, homeless shelters, child care and mental health centers, and low-cost senior housing.

Those efforts have proved successful because private developers were able to finance construction and shoulder the risks on their own. But a new assisted living center going up in Viera, Florida, promises to change the nature of the game by significantly reducing development risk, paving the way for more assisted living facilities to be built in the years to come.

Read the full article on NREI.