Recent testimony by Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Mike Haynie before the United States Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs confirmed the life-saving capabilities of Veteran Collaboratives.
During a hearing on “Harnessing the Power of Community: Leveraging Veteran Networks to Tackle Suicide,” Haynie testified on the significant role communities can play in the successful reintegration of veterans to include health and well-being for veterans and their families.
Haynie explained, based on IMVF’s research, that the most common challenge facing the veterans’ community is the effective and efficient navigation of available services, resources and benefits. He emphasized that such access to basic and positive connections are key determinants to social and economic well-being and while many communities have the infrastructure to support veterans, the providers are often unknown or inaccessible.
The successful ‘business model’ that has evolved to address these needs is Veteran Collaboratives. Veteran Collaboratives are private, non-profit organizations that exist to bring veterans, agencies, organizations, and community members together on a local basis in an atmosphere of mutual support to systemically solve issues that each could not address alone. They enable a ‘warm handoff’ from the military to local communities all across the country. When you in-processed in the military, you likely did so through a military one-stop processing center that took care of all your needs: ID cards, benefits, housing, finance, transportation, travel, claims, etc. They did it all. You should think of these veteran collaboratives as your one-stop in-processing center for your new community. They should be some of the first resources you seek out. You would be wise to include them among your geographic location preferences. They can be incredibly helpful.
For a list of these collaboratives, please see my Resource page on this topic: https://matthewjlouis.com/veteran-collaboratives/.
For a how-to guide on starting a Veteran Collaborative of your own, please see an article I wrote with several of them: https://matthewjlouis.com/print-articles-interviews/.