WASHINGTON – Military combat veterans in Harris County will have more access to readjustment counseling and other services starting late next year when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opens another Vet Center in the Houston area.

“Community-based Vet Centers — already in all 50 states — are a key component of VA’s mental health program,” said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “I’m pleased we can expand access and bring services closer to more veterans, including screening and counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The new Houston facility will be one of 39 new Vet Centers nationwide added to 232 that VA operates now. Two Vet centers already operate in the Houston area.

Vet Centers conduct community outreach to provide counseling on employment, family issues and education to combat veterans and family members, as well as bereavement counseling for families of service members killed on active duty and counseling for veterans who were sexually harassed on active duty.

Services are available at no cost to veterans who experienced combat during any war era. They are staffed by small teams of counselors, outreach workers and other specialists, many of whom are combat veterans. The Vet Center program was established in 1979 by Congress, recognizing that many Vietnam veterans were still having readjustment problems.