Champaign County To Set Up Vets Assistance Aid Program
By Jim Meadows
Champaign County will soon join the list of Illinois counties with veterans assistance programs. Resolutions setting up the program are in the consent agenda at Thursday night’s Champaign County Board meeting.
The program has oversight from the Champaign County Veterans Assistance Commission, which is made up of members of local veterans groups. Commission President Ron Hubert says those organizations had helped needy veterans in the past, using money left over from funds raised in the 1990s for the Champaign County Veterans Memorial --- and later, money which the groups raised on their own. Now, with the Veterans Assistance Commission, Hubert says they’ll work with funds provided by the county.
“We can assist veterans and their families for whatever their needs”, said Hubert, “if it happens to be power bills or roofs or appliances, or maybe even doctor bills or a social worker. Anything that we can possibly help them with if we can.”
Champaign County Administrator Deb Busey says temporary financial aid will be available to veterans’ families with incomes that are up to 250% above the federal poverty level. Busey says the Champaign County budget for Fiscal Year 2013 includes $80,000 for aid money, as well as about $40,000 for the salary of Brad Gould, the program’s superintendent.
Gould says that besides financial aid, he’ll be helping veterans deal with the red tape of agencies serving veterans.
“I will also help veterans work with the Veterans Administration to get them the compensation or pensions or the spouses their burial benefits”, said Gould. “And actually, that will help eliminate the need part of it, and also it will bring money back into Champaign County.”
The Veterans Assistance Commission program office will be located in the Champaign County Brookens Center in Urbana. It’s scheduled to open at the start of the county’s new fiscal year on December 1st.