Washington, D.C. - Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, applauded the announcement today that VA will be adding twenty-three more Vet Centers within the next two years.  Akaka has worked tirelessly for many years to draw attention to the importance of these Vet Centers for service members and their families.           

"Vet Centers are extremely critical for our country's veterans and returning service members, for both active duty military and members of the Reserve and Guard," Akaka said. "The centers offer outreach and counseling for the men and women returning from combat theaters, many of whom will unfortunately be struggling with readjustment issues."

Last Congress, Senator Akaka authored the Vet Center Enhancement Act, which became part of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006.

Vet Centers are community based service centers staffed by highly qualified professionals.  At present, there are 209 Vet Centers across the country.  The services include: individual and group counseling, family/marital counseling, sexual trauma counseling, substance abuse counseling, vocational and employment assistance, VA claims and benefits information, help for homeless veterans, and social service and healthcare referrals.                                                                                                                                            

Twenty-three new Vet Centers will be opened nationwide in 2007 and 2008.  The locations for the new centers were chosen based on the number of veterans living in the surrounding areas, and the veterans' current access to VA services. 

The selected sites are: Montgomery, Ala.; Fayetteville, Ark.; Modesto, Calif.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Orlando, Fort Myers, and Gainesville, Fla.; Macon, Ga.; Manhattan, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Cape Cod, Mass.; Saginaw and Iron Mountain, Mich.; Berlin, N.H.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Binghamton, Middletown, Nassau County and Watertown, N.Y.; Toledo, Ohio; Du Bois, Penn.; Killeen, Texas; and Everett, Wash. 


February 7, 2007