MIDDLESEX COUNTY – Middlesex County Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios unveiled the Veterans Outreach Program, to help connect veterans with needed services.
“Tonight I am very pleased to unveil an initiative that will give back to the men and women who have put themselves into harm’s way to protect our freedom,” Rios said at the Freeholders’ regular meeting last night.
Rios said the program he is establishing will connect veterans to employment, training and education opportunities, transportation and housing. He said he has been working closely with and has the strong support of Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, chairperson of the county’s Community Services Department.
As a first step, Community Services staff will set up information tables at Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick, Menlo Park Mall in Edison and Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge.
One other component of the endeavor is the Middlesex County Veterans Housing Assistance Program.
“This is a workable, sustainable plan that will prevent and end homelessness for our military veterans,” Rios said.
The county is setting aside funding to assist veterans by providing help in paying rental arrears, security deposits for apartments, temporary rental assistance and help in finding suitable housing, accessing other resources and conducting ongoing evaluations, he said. The assistance will be based on the individual needs of the veteran and his or her family.
Currently, federal rental assistance exists for veterans, but it does not cover security deposits or rental arrears. The assistance also does not cover complementary services, such as those being offered through the Middlesex County initiative.
“Our assistance will fill the unmet need,” Rios said.
Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano applauded the initiative: “On behalf of the rest of the Freeholder Board, I want to commend Deputy Director Rios and Freeholder Valenti for their dedication to the veterans of Middlesex County. By taking a holistic approach to meeting the needs of our veterans, we are more effectively serving them. And that is the mark of good government.”
Veterans Outreach Services information and assistance will be available at the following locations on the dates listed from noon to 7 p.m. each day:
May 18-19: Brunswick Square Mall
June 15-16: Woodbridge Center Mall
July 20-21: Menlo Park Mall
Aug. 17-18: Brunswick Square Mall
Sept. 14-15: Woodbridge Center Mall
Oct. 19-20:Menlo Park Mall
Nov. 2-3: Woodbridge Center Mall
Nov. 16-17: Brunswick Square Mall