National Veteran Reintegration Program Simplifies Life For Veteran Families With Support From The Walmart Foundation

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) recently received a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to aid in the expansion of its AmericaServes program, a model that offers veterans the tools needed for a smooth transition back to civilian life. The additional funding bolsters ongoing programs in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and supports the launch of AmericaServes in Texas.

In the military, service members have a mission and a strong support structure; however, when they transition back to civilian life, their mission is not always clear and support can feel nonexistent. Transitioning veterans and their families often have multiple needs like employment training, housing, education and healthcare, yet organizations are often set up to support only one.

According to the Department of Defense, more than 185,000 military members will reintegrate into civilian life this year, and with over 45,000 vet-help organizations, veterans struggle to access the vast ecosystem of assistance. Veteran families need a solution that simplifies their lives. AmericaServes seeks to offer that solution.

Looking to best address this issue head-on, IVMF launched the AmericaServes initiative in 2013 to streamline and connect the services available in communities. The program created was the nation's first coordinated system of public, private and non-profit organizations—a network—working together to serve veterans, transitioning service-members and their families.

Heading into its fourth year, AmericaServes's success stories are profound as the program works to solve issues locally where actual organizations reside and assistance takes place. For example, in North Carolina, a U.S. Army veteran in the NCServes Metrolina area, transitioned to civilian life after two deployments. He, his wife and three children moved to the area for better opportunities and a fresh start, but with no family or friends in the Charlotte area, they struggled to find housing and appropriate healthcare. After connecting with NCServes in early September of 2015, the family was able to find temporary housing until permanent housing could be established. NCServes also assisted with benefits claims and financial assistance, and they connected the family with a local holiday corporate giving program.

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