SAN ANTONIO, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Only 37% of military families live on a military installation, the rest are living in over 4,000 communities nationwide. This means many service members are reintegrating into cities and towns a great distance from a military installation, limiting access to the transition services they need.
A December 2011 study from the Pew Research Center reported that 44% of returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans surveyed said re-entry into civilian life was difficult for them. As these post 9/11 veterans transition back to life at home, healing from physical and behavioral wounds, and addressing legal, spiritual and financial concerns, they and their families will first seek services and support in the communities where they reside.
With such a significant responsibility beholden to thousands of American communities, it is critical that civilian sector leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors educate themselves on the military families in their state. Questions such as how many veterans are living here, what are their readjustment needs, what programs already exist and what is working in other communities should be at the forefront of their discussions.
Addressing Readjustment Needs Army OneSource, a Secretary of the Army Initiative, is working to assist state and organizational leaders answer these very questions. Through a specially designed website, www.aosresourcecenter.com, Army OneSource is creating opportunities for state level systems, military leadership and support organizations to collaborate, learn from each other, and identify best practices for addressing the readjustment needs of military families. The site also houses a wealth of information for each state including deployments by county and the estimated prevalence of major issues such as PTSD, TBI, Suicidal Ideation and unemployment."This information comes at a critical time in planning for the care of the millions of service members who have defended our country since 9/11. The Army recognizes that there is a wealth of resources currently available in our communities – but with a lack of understanding of military culture and service member needs, they often go underutilized by military families. At the resource center, we hope to educate leaders on the military population living in their state, what services they need most, and provide a way for leaders across the nation to work in a synchronized method to capitalize on and proliferate the programs and services that are most successful." notes Shaunya Murrill, Chief of Outreach & Strategic Integration, IMCOM, G9, Family and MWR Programs and Director of the Army OneSource Initiative. Membership to the AOS Resource Center is free and open to AOS Alliance members, their agencies and organizations and all state and local leaders working to assist those who have served.