New Mobile Office Brings VA Services To Franklin County Vets
The Franklin County Veterans Service Commission debuted a new mobile office vehicle on Tuesday. They say the vehicle will help them to reach thousands of local vets, and their families, who are not taking advantage of their benefits.
Veterans Service Commission Director Buck Bramlish says recent estimates show about 90,000 veterans live in Franklin County. Last year his office saw about 5,600. That means many thousands are not making it to their local VA clinic, but still might need to apply for benefits or file a claim with the VA.
Bramlish says one reason is that many veterans struggle with mobility issues. Others are homeless or live in a nursing home.
Thanks to the new van, equipped with desks, computers and a wheelchair ramp, commission workers will link vets with VA services.
Bramlish says the vehicle will start making rounds at nursing homes, but he hopes to eventually reach out to other vulnerable veteran populations.
"We also want to start reaching out to recently released veterans that were incarcerated, veterans that may be in our county jail system," said Bramlish. "We're really excited about the capabilities that the van gives us."
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners helped pay for the $130,000 vehicle. Commissioner Paula Brooks says this is the first time she's heard of a county utilizing this mode of delivering veteran services.
Brooks says many veterans and their families struggle to navigate the complex system in order to access the benefits they're entitled too.
"That's why the commissioners found this money in our budget. We said this is the right thing to do," said Brooks. "So that we don't lose those veterans before they get what is due to them."
Editors Note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the number of veterans that were served by the Franklin County Veteran Service Commission last year.