Hoeven Marks Grand Opening of VA Community Resource and Referral Center in Fargo

Senator Working to Fund VA Homelessness Programs, Strengthen Mental Health Care & Suicide Prevention for Veterans

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today marked the grand opening of the Fargo VA’s Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), which he attended virtually. The new, nearly 10,000 square foot facility will provide homeless veterans and those at risk of homelessness with a wide array of services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits. The facility is located in close proximity to many existing resources for those facing homelessness and will be staffed with two primary care teams as well as a team that specializes in serving homeless veterans.

As a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Committee, Hoeven has helped fund the VA construction budget that supported the CRRC project in Fargo. At the same time, the senator is working to ensure strong support for the VA’s homelessness programs through annual appropriations bills. To this end, the continuing resolution (CR) currently under consideration by Congress would extend authorization and funding for programs to provide rental assistance to low-income veterans, support female veterans facing homelessness and assist those with special needs, among other efforts.

“This facility will serve as a critical resource for veterans in the FM area, connecting them with the services they need to secure permanent housing and ensure greater stability and a higher quality of life,” Hoeven said. “Our veterans deserve the highest caliber of support, which is exactly why we continue to invest in infrastructure and programs like this, which not only provide for veterans’ physical needs, but also aid them in overcoming the unique stressors and challenges they face. We extend our appreciation to the staff of the Fargo VA for their hard work in making this project a reality, and we remain committed to supporting them in ensuring veterans can access the best possible care and services.” 

Hoeven continues his efforts to ensure veterans receive the health care, recognition and benefits they have earned. This includes improving the VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention initiatives. Accordingly, the senator cosponsored and worked to advance theCommander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, which the House passed this week. The bill, which is now headed to the president to be signed into law, will: 

  • Expand the VA’s research into hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Requires the VA to study and report on the effectiveness of this alternative treatment option for post-traumatic stress in partnership with private organizations, a provision offered by Senator Kevin Cramer.
    • Hoeven previously secured an expansion of the VA’s HBOT clinical demonstration program to include the Fargo VA, the fifth such location in the nation.
    • Hoeven also introduced the TBI and PTSD Treatment Act, along with Senator Cramer, to add HBOT as a covered treatment for both PTS and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Increase the capacity of the VA’s mental health workforce by:
    • Giving the VA direct hiring authority for more mental health professionals.
    • Offering scholarships to mental health professionals working at Vet Centers.
    • Placing at least one Suicide Prevention Coordinator at each VA medical center.
  • Improve rural veterans’ access to mental health care services by:
    • Increasing the number of locations at which veterans can access VA telehealth services.
    • Offering grants to non-VA organizations that provide mental health services or alternative treatments to veterans.
  • Establish a grant program to enhance collaboration between the VA and community organizations across the country in order to more quickly identify veterans who are at risk of suicide and provide them with preventive services.
  • Hold the VA accountable for its mental health care and suicide prevention efforts. 

In addition, Hoeven this week helped pass the Veterans’ Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Act, bipartisan legislation he cosponsored to provide an annual increase in certain veterans benefits, including disability compensation, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses and children, to account for inflation. This would match the automatic annual increase for Social Security benefits. The bill is also headed to the president to be signed into law.