When you leave the military, the biggest question is “what’s next?” It’s a scary job market right now, but the skills you’ve received in the military make you highly marketable. The Legion sponsors dozens of veterans hiring fairs each year, and our employment experts also provide tips to writing resumes, networking and making a strong impression in the interview process. Use this link for resources
The American Legion has always believed in the quality of care at VA medical centers. In spite of the scheduling scandals that broke in Phoenix and spread throughout the country, we still stand strong behind our mantra that it’s a “System Worth Saving.”
As evidence of our dedication to VA, we put boots on the ground over the summer, producing a dozen Veterans Crisis Command Centers and Town Hall meetings in some of the areas hardest hit by the epidemic of VA mismanagement. The compassionate care delivered to frustrated veterans has helped pave the way for a new era of improved VA care.
Homeless Veteran Outreach
The American Legion supports the efforts of public and private sector agencies and organizations that aid homeless veterans and their families. Additionally, the Legion supports legislative proposals to provide medical, rehabilitative and employment assistance to homeless veterans and their families.
The Legion recognizes that aiding homeless veterans requires a sustained coordinated effort, which should provide secure housing and nutritious meals; essential physical health care, substance abuse aftercare and mental-health counseling; as well as personal development and empowerment. Homeless veterans also need job assessment, training and placement assistance. The ultimate goal is total self management for the homeless veteran.
The American Legion has stepped up its support for homeless veterans, coordinating a Homeless Veterans Task Force among its departments to augment homeless service providers and fill in the gaps where no assistance programs are available. All departments have a Homeless Veterans Task Force chairperson and an Employment chairperson who are capable of providing assistance to any homeless or financially destitute veteran who contacts them. The two chairpersons also can coordinate activities with posts in their departments to aid homeless veterans and their families and prevent future homelessness among veterans.
For all inquiries on veteran homelessness and Legion outreach efforts, contact:
Mark Walker, Deputy Director, Economic Division
Homeless Veterans Taskforce
The American Legion places special priority on the issue of veteran homelessness. With veterans making up approximately 11 percent of our nation’s total adult homeless population, there’s plenty of reason to give the cause special concern.
To help our struggling brothers-in-arms, the Legion works on a global level, lobbying for legislation affecting veteran homelessness, and acts on a local level, directly assisting veterans who have fallen on tough times and are without a place to live or facing the prospect of it.
This direct assistance is coordinated by the Legion’s Homeless Veterans Task Force, which works to ensure local services and resources are available to homeless veterans and their families. The Task Force, which has chairpersons in each department, collaborates with government agencies, homeless service providers and veterans service organizations to develop and implement initiatives that will help homeless veterans.
Additionally, Homeless Veterans Task Force chairpersons can provide direct aid to veterans and their families who reach out to them. A veteran who is homeless or facing possible homelessness can contact a chairperson, who will provide guidance and assistance to the veteran and his or her family.
In Colorado contact Darrell Myers, Chairman of the Homeless Veterans Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homeless Veterans Resources
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans – VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline: (877) 424-3838 or (877) 4AID VET gives homeless veterans and at-risk veterans free access to trained counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Homeless Veterans Chat – The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans also has a Homeless Veterans Chat, which is available on VA’s website 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The online chat gives homeless veterans and at-risk veterans the opportunity to talk anonymously with mental health clinicians who can provide information on services, guidance and assistance, and helpful online resources. The service can be accessed at www.va.gov/homeless.
Veterans Justice Outreach Centers – Each VA Medical Center has been asked to designate a facility-based Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative specialist who is responsible for direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice-involved veterans in local courts and jails. This specialist also serves as a liaison with local justice system partners. A state-by-state list of these designees is available online.
The current global war on terror illustrates a few deficiencies in services provided for women veterans. Never before have women servicemembers been engaged in constant combative environments. Participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom has forced them to expand their military roles to ensure their own survival, as well as the survival of their units. They sustain the same types of injuries that their male counterparts endure. Any future women veterans’ research will need to take into consideration the physical effects of combat on women veterans, not just mental effects of combat and military sexual trauma.
Since women veterans are sometimes the family’s sole caregivers, services and benefits designed to promote independent living for combat-injured veterans will need to consider other needs – like child care during rehabilitation. This dynamic should also be considered more when designing domiciliary and homeless women veteran programs. Homeless veterans’ service providers’ clients have historically been almost exclusively male. That is changing as more women veterans and women veterans with young children have sought help. Additionally, the approximately 200,000 female Iraq veterans are isolated during and after deployment, making it difficult to find gender-specific peer-based support. Reports show that one of every 10 homeless veterans under the age of 45 is now a woman. Access to gender-appropriate care for these veterans is essential.
In the past 10 years, the number of homeless women veterans has tripled. In 2002, the VA began a study of women and PTSD. The study includes subjects whose PTSD resulted from stressors that were both military and non-military in nature. Preliminary research shows that women currently serving have much higher exposure to traumatic experiences, rape and assault prior to joining the military. Other reports show extremely high rates, 20 to 40 percent, of sexual trauma while women are in the service. Repeated exposure to traumatic stressors increases the likelihood of PTSD. Researchers also suspect that many women join the military, at least in part, to get away from abusive environments. Like the young veterans, these women may have no safe supportive environment to return to, adding yet more risk of homeless outcomes.
Providing quality health care in a rural setting has proven to be very challenging, given factors such as limited availability of skilled care providers and inadequate access to care. Even more challenging will be VA’s ability to provide treatment and rehabilitation to rural veterans, including women veterans, who suffer from the signature ailments of the ongoing global war on terror – traumatic blast injuries and combat-related mental health conditions. VA’s efforts need to be especially focused on these issues.
Gaining access to the nearest facility providing gender-specific services can prove even more of an obstacle, since the nearest facility may be a community-based outpatient clinic that may not offer these services.
There were 1.8 million living women veterans in 2008. In 2008 453,250 women veterans enrolled in the VA health-care system for care. The number of women veterans enrolled in the system is expected to grow by 33 percent in the next three years. Over 102,126 female veterans served in OEF/OIF as of September 2008. Of those, 44.2 percent have enrolled in the VA health-care system. Post-traumatic stress disorder), hypertension, and depression were the top three diagnostic categories for women veterans treated by VA health care. Twenty-two percent of women screened positive for military sexual trauma, compared to 1.2 percent of men. Of all the OEF/OIF veterans who used VA health care in 2007, 16.7 percent of women and .8 percent of men screened positive for MST.
Colorado has a committee devoted to Women Veterans issues called the Female Veterans Action Committee (FVAC). The chairman_____________ is and can be reached at__________.
- Women Veterans Health Care
- Center for Women Veterans Home
- Women Veterans Health Resources on My HealtheVet
- VA Research & Development Women’s Health Program
- VA Mental Health – Military Sexual Trauma
- VA Health Services Research – Current Studies