Help, Hope, and Money: The enduring troubles of the Veterans Assistance Commission in Lake County

Adam Solano, Candidate for IL State Senate, District 31 has released a statement about veterans in Lake County      

The good and hardworking people at the Veteran’s Assistance Commission of Lake County (VAC), deserve better than the treatment they’re receiving from the Democrat majority on the Lake County board, led by board chairwoman Sandy Hart (D), who is backed by Melinda Bush (D) and Mary Edley Allen (D).  Their talk of delaying a new law that is designed to help and properly fund the VAC – which was unanimously passed thru General Assembly earlier this year – is totally unacceptable.  Lake County veterans need and deserve our help, not obstruction and political games because they don't want to do the hard work of prioritizing tax payer money.

 

Background Information

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/ct-lns-county-board-veterans-speak-out-st-0820-20220822-yz3d6epbhfa2jm52emo66oerl4-story.html?fbclid=IwAR0xrhrWW1tAmQ7Z-Yp2ZYhG4cAzRy9AZwIg6SddFKk_3iLxhcQ1YOyDwd8

I have often told my children that you do not have to travel very far to be in the service of others and that you can impact the world in a localized manner.  The good and hardworking people at the Veteran’s Assistance Commission of Lake County (VAC), located in Gurnee Illinois, are no exception and the last 3 years have proven to be exceptionally challenging for their work.  The sequence of the pandemic, recession, lockdowns, isolation combined with the fall of Afghanistan last August has caused particular emotional and financial hardship for veterans.  The VAC does the holy work of helping veterans stay in their homes, keep their families together, offer emergency shelter and food, and even assist with burial costs.  In addition to the basic financial assistance, the VAC helps and advocate for veterans that need pension, health, and welfare benefits.  In 2021, all these payments combined totaled approximately $150,000,000. 

All services are provided free of charge, however, there is obviously a cost to running their unit of local government.  Would it surprise you to learn that Lake County does not fully fund their operation and instead has chosen other programs to fund instead of properly funding the VAC. The amount levied for the VAC in Lake County is only about .01% of the total assessment collected, which equates to about $5,000,000.  Last year, the VAC received less than 1,300,000.  The action is so egregious, earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly unanimously passed a law requiring counties to properly fund the VAC.  The law takes effect January 2023.  The Democrat majority on the Lake County board, led by board chairwoman Sandy Hart (D), who is backed by Melinda Bush (D) and Mary Edley Allen (D), called for an emergency hearing this past August.  Talk of delaying the new law and proposing trailer bills created confusion and anger.  As it stands now, the new law will go into effect as planned, if it survives the veto session in November.