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SIGNED! Bills to Bolster Support for Colorado Veterans Become Law

DENVER, CO – Today, the governor signed two bills into law that aim to help our veterans who have given so much. The first will establish a veteran suicide prevention pilot program and the other will create a grant program that will fund the creation of a veteran mobile support unit to help veterans where they are. 

SB21-129, sponsored by Senate President Leroy Garcia, would require the Colorado Department of Human Services to establish a veteran suicide prevention pilot program to help reduce the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation among veterans. To do this, the pilot program would partner with established non-profit organizations to provide no-cost, stigma-free, confidential and effective behavioral health treatment for veterans and their families.

“Colorado’s rate of veteran suicide is higher than the national average,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)“As a Marine Corps and Iraq war veteran and a lawmaker, those numbers are hard to hear. Veterans and their families have made immeasurable sacrifices to keep us safe. This law puts Colorado on a path to ensuring that veterans who are struggling have the support they need and deserve.”

This bill would first establish a program in El Paso County, the region of Colorado with the highest population of veterans. At any time, the Department of Human Services would be able to  expand this program to other areas of the state. 

SB21-032, sponsored by Senate President Pro Temp Kerry Donovan, would establish a grant program to fund a veteran-owned and focused organization. The grant will fund the creation of a mobile support unit that will act as a point of contact to veterans outside of metropolitan areas who are experiencing homelessness or are unable to access essential services. Those essential services may include distribution of supplies, direct healthcare services, and transportation assistance.

“For many veterans experiencing homelessness, accessing essential services and care is incredibly difficult,” said Senate President Pro-Temp Kerry Donovan (D-Vail)“Our veterans have served our country and we owe it to them to meet them where they are. By creating a mobile veterans support unit with this new law, we can bolster support for veterans experiencing homelessness or veterans in remote areas. This is simply just the right thing to do.”