In June, we were fortunate to have Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo visit the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) in Haverhill. I invited the Speaker to help highlight the VNOC’s exceptional programs and services, which are second to none in caring for our Veterans.
The VNOC, established in 1985, has a staff of 74 employees and offers services to over 50,000 eligible Veterans across the region. Their programs provide food and housing assistance, advocacy, medical referrals, career and educational supports, and more. Of particular note are their wrap-around services, which ensure that our Veterans receive holistic and sustainable support.
The VNOC is also in the process of constructing 44 units of Veterans’ housing on the site of the old Gerson Furniture building on Washington Street in Haverhill. This is a major project that will have a real impact on reducing Veteran homelessness in our community.
During the visit, Speaker DeLeo remarked that he considers the VNOC to be a role model in serving the Veteran community. He also voiced his continued commitment to passing Veteran-focused legislation each session to keep Massachusetts #1 in the nation in caring for our Veterans. I look forward to working with the Speaker on this legislation in my role as Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.
The Speaker has also been very supportive year after year of funding for Veterans’ services in the state budget. I thank him for his support of an amendment I filed with the Merrimack Valley delegation to secure an additional $300,000 for the VNOC in the House budget. If adopted in the final budget, the VNOC plans to use this funding to help Veterans in need who may not be eligible for certain VNOC programs.
We are lucky to have this incredible organization in our community – many thanks to the VNOC team for all of their work. Thanks also to Speaker DeLeo for visiting, and to my colleagues who attended, including Representatives Andy Vargas, Lenny Mirra, Christina Minicucci, and Tram Nguyen, as well as Haverhill Mayor Fiorentini, Haverhill City Councilor Melinda Barrett, and Haverhill Veterans’ Service Officer Amanda Buckley.
State Representative Linda Dean Campbell represents the cities of Methuen and Haverhill in the State Legislature and serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at Linda.Campbell@mahouse.gov or (617) 722-2380. ◊