Two Prince William County supervisors have issued a directive to county staff asking the new Veterans Commission to explore creating a veterans service center.
In a news release announcing the move, Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Franklin said such a center would give veterans in Prince William a centralized location for services and information.
Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry, a retired command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, joined Franklin in the directive, now that the Veterans Commission has been seated, and said it is a good first initiative.
“All of our counties can be doing a better job in mitigating some of the red tape that veterans go through,” Angry said.
Franklin said she envisions a one-stop shop for veterans services.
“The ones we have in Prince William County are more health-care related, and we’re looking for one place the county can run to make sure that our veterans are being served,” she added. “This can open the door for other services from the state and federal governments.”
Franklin said the project is in the fact-finding stage to see if it is feasible, how many people can be served, and what services can be provided without duplication. “There’s a lot of potential, and we need staff to come back with some answers to some of that. … This is something that’s overdue with all the veterans we have in our county.”
Angry agreed that such a center has long been needed in the community.
“With Quantico located within our county and Fort Belvoir located just outside of our county, Prince William has become home to thousands of our nation’s bravest individuals,” he added. “As a veteran, I understand what it’s like to need easy and efficient access to services.”
Angry envisions the Veterans Commission playing a role in addressing veterans issues, such as jobs, homelessness and addiction.
“Prince William County can look at being a leader and it allows us to change the conversation. The commission has been needed for a very long time,” Angry said.
The county will still have to determine how to fund the center.
“My hope is that we can meet this process halfway,” Angry said. “ It’s all about funding. We’re looking for funding streams outside of the residential taxes, and a commercial tax base. If we have the revenue stream we need, we can fund this service. I want staff to fund this without putting this on a wish list.”