Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeMorris CountyNew Federal Veteran Access Point Opening in Morris County

New Federal Veteran Access Point Opening in Morris County

One of Two Outreach Service Operations Announced by VA Under Secretary

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A new federal Veteran Center Community Access Point is being established in Morris County; the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) announced during a visit by the VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal to the Morris County Veteran Services Office in Morris Township.

A local veteran speaks with VA Undersecretary Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Commissioner John Krickus and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill.

Joined by U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Morris County Commissioner John Krickus, and a host of other federal, state, and local officials, Dr. Elnahal unveiled plans for the new Morris County “CAP” along with a new Vet Center Outstation in Warren County.

“Vet Centers provide Veterans with high-quality counseling, community engagement, and referral services in nearby and comfortable environments,” said Dr. Elnahal during a press conference and meeting with dozens of area veterans at the Morris County center.

“Expanding this program throughout Northern New Jersey reaffirms our commitment to meeting Veterans, service members, and their families where they are, while also improving the overall mental health and well-being of those who served,”  he added.

A Vet Center Community Access Point (CAP) is a satellite location of the VA, typically established in donated spaces in conjunction with community organizations to provide readjustment counseling services to eligible veterans, service members, and their families. The Morris County Board of County Commissioners agreed to provide two rooms at the Morris County Veteran Services Office, located at 540 West Morris Avenue, Morris Township, to support the federal VA satellite services.

The Morris County space already has been prepared for the new federal services and will open soon. No opening date has been set for the Vet Center Outstation in Hackettstown.

“The Morris County Commissioners not only honor our service members on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but also support them year-round. We thank Congresswoman Sherrill for her support of our veterans, including the $5 million (federal) grant to the County College of Morris for veteran training, as well as her and Congressman (Tom) Kean’s backing of the new VA services announced today by VA Under Secretary Elnahal,” said Commissioner Krickus, a lifelong resident of Morris County and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

“Morris County can host this new Veteran Affairs service point because we’ve recently doubled the space for our veteran services,” he added.

Over the past two years, Morris County has expanded its Veteran Services Office and continues to increase staffing, adding a fourth veterans service officer and an intern this year. In 2022, Morris County allocated $350,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to veteran services, and last year contributed an additional $300,000 to address the growing demand for mental health, family counseling, and other veteran services.

Veteran Service Will Expand if Veterans Keep Up the Demand

U.S. Rep. Sherrill explained that the new Morris County CAP will start providing services one day per week, and increase those visits as the demand for services grows among area veterans. Typically, CAP satellites are staffed from as little as one day per month to several times per week, depending on the level of demand.

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U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill

“Addressing the needs of New Jersey’s veteran population is a priority for me as your Congresswoman. Over the past few years, expanding Vet Center services to meet the needs of Morris County veterans has become a top concern for the advocates I work within the state and on my Veterans Advisory Board,” said U.S. Rep. Sherrill. “After countless letter writing campaigns, many meetings with VA officials, and tireless community outreach, today’s announcement of the reopening of the VA’s Community Access Point in Morris Township and an Outstation in Hackettstown is a step in the right direction towards ensuring our veterans – and their family members – have access to the care they need. I will continue to work to increase access to high-quality mental health care with a full Vet Center. Thank you to Morris County for hosting us today and for creating space for these CAP services on the same site as their newly expanded Veterans Service Office.”

U.S. Rep. Sherrill and U.S. Rep Tom Kean, Jr., who was represented at today’s event, have supported demands from Morris County veteran organizations for the VA to establish a permanent VA Center in Northwest New Jersey, closer to where veterans in this area live.

VA Centers are community-based counseling centers that offer a wide range of social and psychological services, including no-cost professional counseling for eligible veterans, service members, and their families. New Jersey currently has five locations: Bloomfield, Egg Harbor Township, Ewing Township, Lakewood Township, and Secaucus.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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