GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -Tuesday, more details were revealed about the rate increase at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. You may remember the increase will take place beginning Jan. 1 of next year and will be phased in over a three-year period.
Kenneth Henry has lived at the Armed Forces Retirement Home for five years and says rate increase or no rate increase, this will always be his home.
“People are saying they can’t afford to live here. I can’t afford not to live here,” Henry said. “They’re taking care of us. You just have to decide what you want to spend your money on.”
When those rate increases were announced at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, some residents were up in arms, and some even left. In fact, 101 residents left after that announcement. So, those in charge in Washington and in Gulfport adjusted the increase to go into effect in January instead of immediately, and to have it phased in over three years.
Officials also say spouses will now be allowed to live at the facility if there's space available. Those who served in the National Guard and Reserves will also be eligible for residency.
“Phasing the fee increase is an obvious reduction in the stress level of the residents that couldn’t necessarily make the payments,” said James Branham, AFRH Chief Operating Officer. “There’s a trust factor we really need to maintain, most see that we’re absolutely trying to make the place solvent for the long term future.”
For Henry, the future is set, and he says it's here in Gulfport.
"I’m lazy. I don’t cook or clean. Their rate structure is such that you’ll never have to leave here. That’s why I came here. I don’t want to be a burden on my family.”
Currently, there are 449 residents at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. That’s nearly 80 percent capacity. The hope is to be up to 90 percent occupancy in the next three years.