State Sen. Steve Oroho was joined by 24th Legislative GOP colleagues Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths in putting forth legislation urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop the sixth Veterans Center in the Garden State.
The center, to be placed in Northwest New Jersey, would serve the 50,000 veterans living in Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon, and Warren counties.
The legislators introduced concurrent resolutions urging the the federal VA to fill the void, and cited bipartisan support for the initiative.
“There’s no question we need a Vet Center in this part of the state,” said Oroho. “There is a significant veterans’ population across New Jersey, and the current distribution of VA centers simply cannot meet the demand.”
Helping Veterans Amid a Pandemic
Assemblyman Space noted that the pandemic had added even more strain upon the lives of veterans who relied upon Veterans Centers.
“Veterans who had been doing well before the virus outbreak now require a helping hand. The obvious need for a new Vet Center prompted our call to the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Space.
The locations provide helpful services, including access during non-traditional hours. All services are offered without time limitation and at no cost to veterans.
“For many vets and their families, the path to post-military life is more manageable thanks to help from a Vet Center,” said Wirths. “It is our intent to convince the Veterans Administration to share our view that the best way to meet our nation’s commitment to veterans is the addition of a Vet Center in this part of the state.”
Working with Congressional Delegation
The trio of legislators noted they were working with New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to make the effort known in Washington.
Sen. Cory Booker was recently joined by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill and Tom Malinowski in urging the agency to establish a center in either Morris or Sussex counties.
The four legislators noted veterans in Northwest Jersey counties have to drive an hour away to either Bloomfield, Secaucus, or Ewing to access counseling and support services.
“Veterans in Morris, Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties are facing numerous barriers to getting care,” said Booker. “The pandemic has only added and compounded those challenges.”