(USNewsMag.com) – A grant program that supports mental health programs for military service members, veterans and their families was created and signed into law in Georgia April 25.
The bill was passed unanimously by the General Assembly. The Georgia state House voted and passed the bill Feb. 28. The Georgia state Senate voted and passed the bill March 20, with an amendment, which sent it back to the Georgia state House for a vote March 29. The bill was sent to the governor’s desk for his signature April 5.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill, House Bill 414, which creates a $750,000 grant program. The program allows Georgia’s Department of Veterans Service to offer nonprofit groups grants in order to provide mental health and addiction services.
Applicants with a location with 50 miles of a military base will be given priority. Requirements for applicants include showing the use of evidence-based practices. Requirements for applicants also include training staff members to understand the military, as well as connecting clients to other mental health services upon discharge.
Nonprofits that have experience in treating military service members, veterans as well as their families are encouraged to apply once the applications are available.
During the signing of the bill, which was done before lawmakers and veterans, Kemp stated the model for the program is the Cohen Family Clinic, run by Aspire Health Partners, that opened in 2022 in Hinesville, which is similar to a clinic in Tampa, Florida. The clinic provides military members, veterans as well as their families with free services.
An overhaul to the Georgia Veterans Service Foundation board, Senate Bill 21, was signed by Kemp April 25. Kemp also signed House Bill 175, which creates a retired military license plate. It also allows disabled veterans, even if they don’t have the current disabled veteran plate, to exempt their vehicle from taxation.
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