CRESTVIEW — A decrease in Okaloosa County Veterans Services’ hours will not affect the level of service provided, officials said.
A staffing shortage forced the Crestview and Fort Walton Beach offices to alter their schedules — both offices were open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. certain days of the week; now, they’re open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — but the change reportedly is temporary.
The North Pearl Street office in Crestview will still be open Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Iowa Drive office in Fort Walton Beach will still be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Veterans Services staffers help military veterans and their spouses file claims concerning compensation or pensions.
Having fewer hours will have little effect on the department's operation, director Beatrice Love-Moore said.
"We are still able to see the same amount of people," she said. "It just takes us a little longer to get the paperwork through."
The Crestview and Fort Walton Beach offices daily receive about 30 phone calls and staffers assist about 10 to 20 veterans or veterans’ spouses, Love-Moore said. Staffers make house calls or visit clients in assisted-living facilities as needed.
Love-Moore said she’s discussing staffing options with the Okaloosa County Human Resources Department, and she hopes regular office hours will return in November.
In the meantime, available staffers will serve veterans to their best ability, she said.
"We will stay here (with them) until the job is done," Love-Moore said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.