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Sen. Chris Brown is the sponsor of bipartisan legislation with Sen. Jeff Van Drew to provide state-funded veterans services. Brown is shown here speaking at the Senate committee hearing on gaming and tourism in the Fannie Lou Hamer Event Room at Stockton University in Atlantic City in September.

A bipartisan bill to help provide mental health, family counseling, employment and housing services to veterans passed the state Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday.

“With the ongoing war on terrorism increasing the demand for help for our returning heroes, it would be a sin to let any veteran in need of mental health counseling, a decent place to live or even job training fall through the cracks,” said sponsoring Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, a combat veteran.

Among the bill’s co-sponsors is state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, said Brown.

The bill, S-1656, would create the Veterans Assistance Grant Program in the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. According to Brown, under the bill, grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities would be funded by money appropriated by the Legislature, funds received as donations, fees from applicants and return on investment in a grant fund.

“There are a number of groups dedicated to improving the lives of our men and women who served, and this bill can help make sure veterans’ services are available, accessible and obtainable,” said Brown.

Brown hopes the bill will be voted on by the next full session of the Legislature on Dec. 17, but if not Brown said he is confident it will pass in the next session.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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