Jan 9, 2012
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is deploying a Mobile Vet Center (MVC) to Lakewood to ensure that underserved New Jersey veterans and their families have better access to vital counseling, employment assistance and other services.
“The decision to locate the MVC at the VA’s Vet Center just off Route 70 will allow more veterans and their families to participate in programs that can help with their transition to civilian life, such counseling and employment assistance
,” said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), former chairman of the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee and author of a dozen veterans’ laws. “The back-to-back initiatives by the VA—first with the establishment of the Lakewood Vets Center in 2010 and now with a mobile unit that can bring important services closer to where veterans live—shows New Jersey is recognized to have a sizable, vibrant veterans community that has needs to be met
“Our veterans and their families have performed a great service to our country and provide a constant defense for our freedoms
,” Smith said. “Bringing services to veterans will ensure that they are getting the benefits they have earned—regardless of how far they live from a VA facility
The Lakewood MVC will be the first in New Jersey, and will travel throughout the state to deliver services where needed, Smith said.
Lakewood will be one of 20 additional vehicle locations across the country announced this week. The MVC is expected to arrive in February. The customized vehicles are outfitted with confidential counseling space and state-of-the-art communications for traveling to communities to extend the VA’s reach to veterans, service members and their families, especially those living in remote communities.
The centers will provide individual and group counseling for military related issues, such as injuries and disabilities and related treatments, as well as other readjustment to civilian life. Bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, counseling for substance abuse, and prospective employment assessments, job search strategies and referrals in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), will be available.
The VA has 300 Vet Centers like the one located at 1255 Route 70 in the Parkway 70 Plaza
serving communities across the country for veterans and their families to ensure they understand what VA benefits and services are available to them. Across the country more than 190,000 Veterans and families made over 1.3 million visits to VA Vet Centers in fiscal year 2011. Adding 20 MVCs to the existing fleet of 50 across the nation is expected to increase the number of veterans and their families assisted by the VA.
MVC units are equipped as "offices on wheels," capable of providing emergency support for natural disasters. Each motor coach houses a satellite dish that connects to communications and audio-visual equipment, a half dozen phone lines, a fax line, notebook computers, four encrypted computer lines and WiFi gear. Two dividers separate the motor coach into private counseling rooms. Comfortable seating, tables fit-for-two, and couches allow for either individual or small group counseling sessions.
For emergency situations, the vehicle comes with a medical exam table, a defibrillator (AED), first aid kit, beds, a shower, refrigerator, microwave, and other amenities.
For additional information about VA Vet Centers and VA Mobile Vet Centers, click here