MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday announced the awarding of $10 million in federal dollars that will benefit a variety of Wisconsin veterans programs. The investments are based on recommendations made last month by the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity.
Veterans programs to receive funding
The veterans programs, to be funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, cover housing, increased mental health supports and expanded access to skills and job training. These veterans programs include:
- $4.5 million to support veteran mental health initiatives, including supporting community-based veterans programs, increasing access to emergency services, and investing in peer support programs.
- $2 million to create a rental assistance program for homeless veterans. This was also a recommendation from the Interagency Council on Homelessness’ “Welcoming Wisconsin Home” report.
- An additional $1.5 million for the Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP), which provides case management and support to veterans and connects veterans to community services, including substance use treatment, housing, education, and mental healthcare. This investment is intended to fund seven additional positions to serve veterans across the state.
- An additional $1.5 million for county veteran services offices (CVSOs) and tribal veterans service offices (TVSOs), which help veterans connect to benefits, preventative programming, and family engagement activities. The funding will increase allocations to CVSOs and TVSOs by 100 percent, ensure TVSO payments are not being prorated and increase payments to part-time CVSOs.
- An additional $500,000 for the state Department of Workforce Development’s Hire Heroes Program, which provides services to veterans with high barriers to employment and reimburses employers for certain costs when hiring veteran employees.
“Our veterans have faced an especially challenging few years on top of the specific challenges folks face returning to civilian life, and this investment is a critical step to supporting Wisconsin’s more than 300,000 veterans across our state,” Evers said in a news release. “I’m grateful for the good work of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity to make recommendations that have informed these immediate efforts, and I look forward to ensuring these investments and recommendations receive long-term, ongoing support in our next biennial budget.”
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity held seven meetings, including a public listening session, beginning in May of this year. Under Executive Order #157, the Commission’s final report was presented to the governor last month for consideration and potential inclusion in the governor’s forthcoming 2023-25 biennial budget proposal.
To view presentations, agendas, and recordings of the commission meetings, visit the Blue Ribbon Commission website.