first_img Categories: Albert News State Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell cosponsored legislation Wednesday encouraging Michigan counties to establish and maintain veteran service offices through a new grant program.Each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county under the proposed legislation. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.Under the current veterans benefit model, the state supplies the Veteran Service Coalition with a grant to provide benefit services to veterans. Lack of funding and sparse access to services has led to inadequate coverage for portions of the state. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location such as a city library.Currently, there are 11 counties in Michigan without an accredited county Veteran Service Officer. This could be due to the number of veterans in the area, lack of funding or because the county partners with neighboring counties.“As a veteran myself, I know just how important the services provided by a veteran service office and accredited case agents are,” Albert said. “This grant will help Ionia County build off the foundation already established and extend the reach of quality services locally.”The legislation, House Bill 5536, now moves to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for consideration. 08Feb Albert: Grant helps expand Ionia County veteran serviceslast_img

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