Payne, Booker, Menendez, Pascrell, LoBiondo, Watson-Coleman, and Norcross Urge DoD to Consider Alternatives to Fund New Jersey Veterans Suicide Prevention Program

July 30, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) joined U.S. Senators Cory Booker (NJ) and Robert Menendez (NJ) and Reps. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Bonnie Watson-Coleman (NJ-12), and Donald Norcross (NJ-01) in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter questioning the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to terminate funding for the successful Vets4Warriors call center without considering any other alternative funding mechanisms to preserve the life-saving program.

“We believe that the DoD decision not to re-compete the Vets4Warriors contract was made without consideration for alternatives that would leave the program operational.  Since the decision was made not to re-compete the contract that funded Vets4Warriors, we are asking that DoD consider all avenues of subcontracting opportunities for Vets4Warriors,” the members wrote.

The Vets4Warriors (V4W) peer helpline offers 24/7 live veteran support to veterans, active duty service members, and their families in a confidential environment. The program employs forty veterans and four licensed mental health clinicians. Since December 2011, the V4W program has had over 130,000 contacts with service members and their families.