Gopal Hosts 2nd Annual “Coming Home Project” to Help Veterans Access Benefits and Services

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Though organizations and agencies throughout New Jersey offer programs helping veterans deal with healthcare access, housing costs, or finding a career, many veterans don’t know how to apply for them - or even that these programs exist.

That’s why Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey are teaming up with the Monmouth University School of Social Work to host their second annual “Coming Home Project,” a veterans’ claims clinic that will empower Monmouth County veterans learn about the benefits and services available to them and obtain guidance in applying.

“Our veterans make tremendous sacrifices in service to their country, showing outstanding courage and loyalty in the face of extraordinary danger and life-threatening situations,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch), who chairs the state Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “When they return home, though, too many veterans fall through the cracks and find themselves facing mental illness, unaffordable bills, or other challenges completely alone. The Coming Home Project is here to tell them that they’re not alone, and to help them get right back on their feet.”

The Coming Home Project will host representatives from federal, state and county government agencies, as well as veterans’ support organizations, providing services including legal aid, utility assistance, career development, and benefit interview. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, 2019, at the Samuel Hays Magill Commons Club at Monmouth University’s campus at 400 Cedar Avenue in West Long Branch.

“The transition back to civilian life is never easy, and our veterans often have to deal with fierce challenges like PTSD or long-term injuries when trying to establish a family or career,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Our job, as legislators, is to be the bridge that helps our courageous service members access the tools that can help them overcome these obstacles and get the life-changing benefits they’ve rightfully earned.”

“For some of our veterans, coming home turns out to be their toughest battle, leaving them struggling to pay the bills, buy food, or even afford a doctor’s appointment,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “That’s why the Coming Home Project will connect them with VA benefits and entitlements, help them submit claims, or get updates on claims they’ve already submitted. Our community partners will also be on-site to guide vets every step of the way.”

Attending agencies and organizations will include the Affordable Housing Alliance, Cohen Veteran Network, the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, the Monmouth County One Stop Career Center, the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission, NJ Shares, NJVet2Vet, South Jersey Legal Services, Soldier On, the Veterans’ Administration Newark.

An RSVP is required for appointments, as space is limited. For additional information and to confirm required documents, veterans or their family members can call (732) 784-7334.