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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

The Independence Fund praises the work of the North Carolina Legislature for New Budget Items Benefiting MilVet and Afghan Ally Communities

November 18, 2021 GMT
(PRNewsfoto/The Independence Fund)
(PRNewsfoto/The Independence Fund)
(PRNewsfoto/The Independence Fund)

RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Veterans Service Organization, The Independence Fund, is praising North Carolina’s neweset state budget legislation, which marks wins for members of the Military, Veteran (MilVet), and Afghan Ally communities in North Carolina. As Governor Roy Cooper prepares to sign the new budget on Friday, November 19th, The Independence Fund (TIF) is commending the new budget allotments for these heroic groups.

“Our work at The Independence Fund focuses on meeting the unmet needs of catastrophically wounded Veterans, Caregivers, and their families through our personalized programming,” explains TIF CEO Sarah Verardo. “This new legislation will help fill the gap of many of the most in-need and at-risk members of the families we serve, including our newly resettled Afghan Allies. We are so pleased with the work of Governor Cooper and his team to make North Carolina a leader in Veteran Service Care by passing this legislation.”

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Most notably for the The Independence Fund’s work is the appropriation of two million dollars to the No Veteran Left Behind Act, which the House passed earlier this year. These new funds will administer the Veterans Justice Intervention Program that will not solely train officers and departments in CRT but will be veteran-focused.

No Veteran Left Behind’s goal is to deescalate and decriminalize a Veteran’s early experiences with the Criminal Justice System and explore alternative routes to traditional law enforcement responses. TIF has worked tirelessly to destigmatize mental health issues within the Veteran community, and this funding will help do just that.

“This expanded funding of No Veteran Left Behind is a huge win for all Veterans,” says Verardo. “In addition to the increased Veteran-centric crisis response training, the new dollars will allow for investments in Accountability and Recovery Courts, which will prioritize veterans in Cumberland and Onslow County struggling with substance abuse. These are truly life-saving funds for so many families and heroes being served by TIF. Governor Cooper and his team have shown us over and over that they also value this important work.”

A closer look at the new budget includes these other noteworthy items that will provide benefits to MilVet and Afghan Ally groups:

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- Record-setting investments in new staffing positions and allocation of resources for the NC Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.
- Spending on a new Claims management system allowing Veteran Resource Officers to track and update their Veterans Benefits more efficiently.
- Allocated funding for suicide prevention for Active-Duty Military and Veterans
- Dollars to update the state’s veteran resource guide, helping Veterans with job placement, recruitment education, and benefit explanation.
- $2.65 million dollars for Veteran Non-Profits for Disabled Veterans and their families
- $1 million dollars given to non-profits whose work supports our Afghan Allies.
- Another $1 million into BRAC
- Record investments into the upkeep and maintenance of Veterans cemeteries as well as the creation of the North Carolina Veterans Cemetaries Fund.
- A quarter of a million dollars will be earmarked for Cumberland county to establish a new veteran’s pilot program.
- $150,000 was approved for experimental treatment for the use of hyperbaric chamber to treat veterans with traumatic brain injury or PTSD.
- Financing for double the number of scholarships for children of wartime veterans.

MEDIA:
Media can contact Ashley Skinner at a.skinner@independencefund.org for interview requests with Sarah Verardo or additional quotes.

BACKGROUND:
The Independence Fund’s Mobility Program provides catastrophically wounded Veterans the chance to regain their independence through the use of all-terrain wheelchairs. The program is open to Veterans of all eras who have undergone a severe loss of mobility from a service-connected catastrophic injury or illness. To qualify, Veterans must provide documentation from the VA showing a service-connected catastrophic injury or illness that affects their mobility over half of the time.

ABOUT THE INDEPENDENCE FUND:
Established in 2007, The Independence Fund is a national Veterans Service Organization dedicated to meeting the unmet needs of catastrophically wounded Veterans, Caregivers, and their families through a variety of programs. To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

Media Contacts:
Ashley Skinner, Communications Manager
A.skinner@independencefund.org
(704) 712-5380

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SOURCE The Independence Fund