State Offers Assistance To Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

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UNION COUNTY—Individual grants from $2,500 to $5,000, and grants to re-start businesses from $5,000 to $10,000, are available to help veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF/Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  The grants were established by Governor Jon Corzine in 2007 to respond to a range of emergency situations that could not be met through existing social service agencies, veterans’ organizations or other sources.  In addition, veterans who operated a business prior to their military service may apply for a grant to re-start their business.

“Our Union County Office of Veterans’ Affairs can help veterans and their family members apply for this state program,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “The Yellow Ribbon Grant Program is one way the State of New Jersey, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, is expressing its appreciation for the sacrifice and service of our newest veterans by helping them with short term financial emergencies.”

Veterans or their families may apply for any individual emergent need; however, in general, grants are to help veterans who need support (up to $500 per month) while awaiting a disability claim approval; those facing eviction, home foreclosure or those who are in arrears for their mortgage or rent. Grants are also offered for food and clothing for basic subsistence; heating oil; utility shutoff; emergency home repairs (including medically necessary home renovations); essential appliance repair or replacement (furnace, water heater, oven, refrigerator); vehicle repair or replacement; tuition assistance; and caregiver expenses needed to accompany a veteran to a distant medical facility.

According to Stephen G. Abel, the state’s Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, “since the first grant was awarded in February of this y ear (2008), the number of veterans requiring assistance and the magnitude of their need is much greater than originally anticipated.”

All grant applications must be on a Yellow Ribbon Committee Grant Application form. When completed forms and supporting documentation are submitted, the Grant Review Board will notify the applicant of their decision within five business days.

Union County residents can call Richard Thompson (908) 659-7407 or Salvatore Mione (908) 527-4738 in the Office of Veterans Affairs to request the official application form, information, and help applying for a Yellow Ribbon Grant.

Information and application forms can also be obtained from the internet at: www.nj.gov/military/veterans/grant.html.  Or by calling the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at (609) 530-6949, or by email at patricia.richter@njmava.state.nj.us.


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