• 61°

COLUMN — OnStar to connect vets in crisis

These unprecedented times have left many Americans feeling vulnerable and insecure. In Congress, I have continued to work to address these concerns.

Recently, I sponsored the Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act with Rep. David Trone (D-MD). The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched health services to the limit. It has laid bare the need to find creative and practical solutions to challenges in the health care field. This bill will ensure everyone experiencing a mental or behavioral health condition has access to the treatments they need.

I asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to address issues with Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance-backed mortgage loans. These loans, guaranteed by the federal government, make it possible for more Americans to purchase homes. I asked Secretary Carson to make changes to a rule that will help qualified potential buyers receive these loans.

This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would partner with OnStar to connect veterans in crisis to mental health professionals. Mental health in the veteran community is an issue that is close to my heart — one that has affected my family. 

I am proud to report that my legislation, the Purple Star Families Resolution now has 67 co-sponsors. This bill recognizes the families of veterans who have succumbed to the invisible wounds of war and have taken their own life. This designation will reconnect these veterans’ families to the military community and uplift the bravery of their veteran, who is deserving of this honor. 

If you need help with a federal agency, please contact my Charlottesville office at (434) 973-9631. At this time, all indoor Smithsonian museums in Washington are temporarily closed to the public. Additionally, tours of the White House, U.S. Capitol, FBI, and Library of Congress have been suspended to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent community spread.

Denver Riggleman represents Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached by visiting https://riggleman.house.gov/ or by phone at (434) 973-9631.