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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesV.I. Veterans Affairs Looking to Do More With Less in 2011

V.I. Veterans Affairs Looking to Do More With Less in 2011

V.I. Veterans Affairs Director Morris Moorehead reached out to area veterans Thursday, urging them to sign up with the office in order to receive the benefits they so richly deserve. Moorehead made his remarks during a sparsely attended budget hearing in Frederiksted to present his office’s 2011 general fund budget request of $416,000 to the Appropriations and Budget Committee—an 8.8 percent decrease from its 2010 appropriation of $456,000.
The office expects to receive just under $12,000 from the auction of taxi driver medallions, for an appropriated 2011 budget of $427,000 for its operating expenses. The office also has $200,000 from the miscellaneous section of the budget, specifically earmarked for veteran’s burial and death benefits that is available until expended, for a total of $627,000 at its disposal for the upcoming year.
The Office of Veterans Affairs, one of the smallest in the government, has a total of six employees, including Moorehead, and is placed within the Office of the Governor. It has a mandate to: compile data on veterans, aid in their educational pursuits, assist with employment and job referrals, and provide other benefits, including free ambulance transportation and free burial plot and death benefits.
The office acts as an entirely local supplement to the federal Veterans Administration.
On a day-to-day basis, its biggest services to veterans are paying for veteran burial services and helping with travel expenses for veterans getting medical attention at federal VA facilities, Moorehead said.
However, the office is also engaged in a variety of other veterans-related projects, including helping the Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse with a grant application for money to renovate a shelter for veterans on St. Thomas; working with the Veterans Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to bring more services to the territory’s veterans; working with the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness; and helping it conduct grant-writing workshops, among other projects.
No votes were taken at the information gathering hearing. Present were Sens. Craig Barshinger, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Sammuel Sanes, Patrick Sprauve and Michael Thurland.
Area veterans can contact the Veterans Affairs Office on St. Croix at (340) 773-6663 or on St. Thomas at (340) 774-6100 to register with them and find out more about the services provided by the V.I. office.

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