By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In this time of uncertainty, Gov. Tim Walz says he is committed to helping veterans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

With the goal of ending veteran homelessness and suicide rates in mind, the state passed $6 million in funds to assist with financial hardships.

“We thought the best way to prevent backslides in those areas was to get some relief out there to some veterans who were being financially impacted by this crisis,” said Deputy Commissioner of MDVA Brad Lindsay.

Veterans who either lost or are unable to go to work are eligible for the one-time COVID-19 disaster relief grant of $1,000. The amount applies for veterans with spouses who are in a similar position with their jobs.

“We think a lot of the veterans who are going to need assistance during this time are the ones who traditionally don’t ask for assistance because they are out there working everyday or going to school and getting by and don’t always need us,” said Lindsay.

Veterans can apply online or contact their County Veteran’s Service officer for help.

“Our grocery bill every week is usually between $300 and $400 per week,” said Nate Estrem, an Army veteran with four children.

Estrem served in Iraq as an MP from 2003 until 2004. His wife lost her service industry job, which forced him to look for help.

“Thankfully I haven’t lost my source of income, but with my wife losing her source of income, when you are a dual income family it definitely makes a difference,” said Estrem.

The one time grant of $1,000 is not the only help out there for veterans.

COVID-19 Special needs grants offer veterans up to $3,000 in support to help pay the mortgage, rent, or car loans.

A closing date for COVID-19 disaster relief funds has not been determined.

The state also has other disaster and temporary disability programs for veterans and need.

Reg Chapman

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