TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Kristin M. Corrado that would create the “Veterans Assistance Grant Program” in the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (DMVA) advanced from the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today.
The bill, S-1656, would require the DMVA to provide select governmental entities and nonprofit organizations grant funds to provide valuable services to veterans such as mental health services, family counseling services, job training and employment services and housing assistance.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us and deserve to have access to key services that could assist them in their civilian lives,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “The struggles many veterans face as they transition back to civilian life are well documented and by establishing the ‘Veterans Assistance Grant Program,’ our nation’s heroes can turn to these services, if needed, knowing there are people there for them that want to help them succeed.”
The bill would require the DMVA to establish the “Veterans Affairs Grant Fund” which would provide funding for the grant program through:
• Legislature appropriated funds
• Money received by the DMVA as gifts, grants or donations
• Return on investments of money deposited in the grant fund
• Fees collected from applicants
• Other money made available from agreements with private investors, the federal government, banks and other lending institutions
The DMVA would be required to report to the Governor and the Legislature annually to report the allocation of funding to the grant fund and the impact the program has had on the veteran population.
The bill advanced from committee with a vote of 4-0, and now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.