The Trump administration is looking into offering grants to connect veterans who are not already getting care from the Department of Veterans Affairs with the outside support they need as part a new initiative to tackle veterans suicides, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order later on Tuesday to create a task force led by Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, which will have one year to come up with a comprehensive strategy to reduce the number of veterans who take their own lives.
"Under this order, the administration will also partner with Congress to work side-by-side with state and local governments to provide resources, technical assistance, and coordination in the form of grants that empower veteran communities to provide critical information, networks of support, and services when and where they are needed," the senior administration official said during a conference call with reporters.
Acknowledging that the effect of previous veteran suicide prevention efforts has been "minimal," the official said the task force is looking at how to mobilize government officials and agencies as well as private charities to reach veterans who are not receiving care from the VA.
"The intention is to create an umbrella under which all people are able to come together and figure out how they participate effectively in coordinating resources that are needed," the official added.
The official could not say how much money the Trump administration plans to ask Congress for these grants, which would be similar to vouchers that help veterans find housing.
"The intention is to be able to issue a grant out at the state level – or potentially lower – depending on the type of community that needs the response or meets the grant criteria, which hasn't been developed yet," the official said. "But the assumption is they will organize and align all of the resources that they currently have to provide a larger sense of navigation so that when the service member needs to find a resources, there is no wrong door, if you will, and they can get connected and routed back to the resources."