State Rep. Beth Griffin of Mattawan today joined her colleagues in the House in passing legislation providing Michigan counties grants to establish and maintain veteran service offices.
Under the legislation Griffin is co-sponsoring, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements will receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran services department must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.
“The fight shouldn’t have to continue upon returning home for our brave men and women in uniform,” Griffin said. “This grant will provide the resources necessary for every county throughout the state to establish veteran services offices with an accredited agent present, improve pre-existing departments and increase awareness of the services available locally.”
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. Only 72 out of Michigan’s 83 counties currently have a county veteran services department.
House Bill 5536 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.