Chapter 2.152


2.152.010    Veterans’ assistance program established.

2.152.020    Program funding.

2.152.030    Administration.

2.152.040    Veterans’ advisory board.

2.152.050    Programs and services.

2.152.060    Program policies.

2.152.070    Indigent status and determination.

2.152.080    Veteran status and determination.

2.152.090    Effective date.

2.152.100    Severability.

2.152.010 Veterans’ assistance program established.

Pursuant to RCW 73.08.010 a Whatcom County veterans’ assistance program is hereby established for the purpose of developing, implementing and administering a comprehensive system of services to aid Whatcom County veterans. Programs and services shall include those that meet identified basic needs for individuals, as well as community programs that benefit veterans and their families. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.020 Program funding.

The resources of the veterans’ assistance fund, authorized by RCW 73.08.080, will provide support for programs and services delivered to Whatcom County veterans who are indigent. Funding from other sources may also support the veterans’ assistance program and may be used to provide services to Whatcom County veterans who are not indigent as allowed by state law. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.030 Administration.

The health department shall administer the veterans’ assistance program under the authority of the county executive. The health department shall establish appropriate services to be delivered under this program with recommendations from the veterans’ advisory board pursuant to Chapter 2.150 WCC. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.040 Veterans’ advisory board.

The health department shall provide staff to the veterans’ advisory board and shall solicit recommendations from the board on appropriate services for local veterans. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.050 Programs and services.

A. Programs and services delivered to eligible veterans by the veterans’ assistance program will include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Individual financial assistance on a temporary basis to help meet basic needs.

2. Housing eviction prevention assistance.

3. Housing assistance for homeless veterans.

4. Behavioral health services that are not paid for by other sources.

5. Legal assistance for help in securing non-VA federal benefits, proof of identity, and assistance with noncriminal matters.

6. Social and support services that aid a successful return to the community after active duty.

7. Reentry services to locally incarcerated veterans to assist with successful return to the community and connection to supportive services.

8. Case management services that include helping veterans navigate the social services system and connect to effective programs and services.

9. Training opportunities for veterans and community professionals working with veterans.

10. Burial assistance as defined in RCW 73.08.070.

11. Veteran service officer (VSO) assistance with filing Veterans Administration (VA) claims, pensions, access to VA healthcare and VSO services.

12. Information, referrals and assistance for veterans and their families.

13. Veteran navigator hub services to connect veterans with the Whatcom County veterans’ community.

14. Other veterans’ services as approved by the county executive. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.060 Program policies.

Policies for administering the veterans’ assistance program shall be established by the health department with recommendations from the veterans’ advisory board and approval of the county executive. Changes to these policies will require approval from the county executive.

Policies will outline program eligibility, access to program services, program staffing, assistance limitations, fraud and abuse, and quality control measures. An appeal process for denials of service also will be addressed in policy and will give final review authority to the health department director. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.070 Indigent status and determination.

Pursuant to RCW 73.08.005, assistance to individual veterans supported by the veterans’ assistance fund must meet one of three statutory criteria for indigent status. Any subsequent changes to the definition of “indigent” in statute shall be reflected in this policy after approval from the county executive and the county council. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A).

2.152.080 Veteran status and determination.

Veterans shall be defined pursuant to RCW 73.08.005 or 41.04.005. Veterans who are eligible for direct financial assistance from the veterans’ assistance fund must meet criteria for indigence. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B).

2.152.090 Effective date.

This chapter shall take effect on March 1, 2020. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A. Formerly 2.152.080).

2.152.100 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this chapter or the application of the provisions to other persons or circumstances is not affected. (Ord. 2020-007 Exh. B; Ord. 2011-033 Exh. A. Formerly 2.152.090).