Veterans have dedicated their time and service to our nation, and it’s only fitting that there be organizations that serve and take care of our service members once they retire their uniforms. One of these outstanding organizations is called the VRC (Veterans Resource Centers of America).
Who are the VRC?
The Veterans Resource Center is a community-based nonprofit organization that focuses on the overall well being of military veterans. They assist service members with the reintegration process from all eras. VRC was founded in 1972 by a group of Vietnam veterans, and now currently have 14 resource centers spread out across California, Arizona and Nevada. This organization primarily focuses on housing assistance, behavioral health treatment and case management. They want veterans and their families to know that they take a holistic approach when addressing the needs of each and every veteran.
What is their mission?
Their goal is to support military veterans by helping them live up to their full potential. VRC wants veterans to live happy, healthy, and enriched lives for themselves and their families. Self-sufficiency and successful reintegration back into their communities is what VRC strives for and they are proud to help veterans become the best versions of themselves.
What do they do?
It’s a known fact that one of the challenges veterans today face is homelessness. It’s unfortunate that the men and women who fought for our country at one point of their lives are now having difficulties finding a roof to put over their heads.
This organization’s work begins with ensuring that veterans have a place to stay. This also includes providing them with immediate, short-term financial support for housing-related issues (for example, security deposits, arrears and utility bills). There are also three different types of programs that help with housing:
- Behavioral Health Centers: In-patient facilities that assist with intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The duration of this facility can help veterans for up to six months.
- Transitional Housing Programs: These programs are specially designed to help homeless veterans with mental health disorders. These individuals can stay and receive assistance for up to two years. Some of the assistance includes clinical services, employment/training programs and legal aid.
- Permanent Supportive Housing: This housing program is geared towards low-income veterans, and they can stay long-term with the help of substantial rental assistance and other onsite supportive services.
Just because your veteran isn’t at war anymore, doesn’t mean the battle has ended for them. So many of our veterans and their families will have to tend to the psychological battle wounds for many years. Mental health problems such as PTSD, moral injury, traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety are common for service members. These cases are more so prevalent with veterans that deployed overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan.
We sometimes forget the aftermath of being in a combat zone and how much it can mentally affect our service members. VRC is proud to provide treatment of co-occurring disorders at their Behavioral Health Centers.
It’s crucial that veterans understand the benefits and services that they have earned. Accessing what veterans are entitled to can be confusing and at times overwhelming. VRC’s case managers are considered the cornerstone of the services this company offers. Case managers will be the main point of contact for the vets. When veterans are encountering a problem or not understanding information presented to them, a case manager will make the information and course of action easier to understand. They will also connect them to the right resources to help them live their best and healthiest lives.
On the first visit to the VRC, veterans will meet with a case manager for the initial assessment. That assessment will give the case manager an idea of what types of assistance plan that specific vet needs. The personalized service plan will lay out the outlining goals that are needed for that individual. The assistance will be related to substance abuse, mental health, medical/financial needs, education, employment and housing. After the assistance plan is established, the case manager will meet with the veteran on a daily basis to monitor progress. The main goal of case management is to help veterans develop the skills they need to learn and maintain their independence.
Resources on Campus
Many colleges have a resource center that is specially dedicated to our service members. UC San Diego in San Diego, California has a Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) that is committed to ensuring that their military students thrive in their education. Their mission is to assist military affiliated students to successfully make the transition from the military environment to campus life. The SVRC will provide support in their progress toward completing their academic degree.
This center prides themselves in providing a safe space for military students to access peer mentoring, group study sessions/study jams, information and referrals, workshops, a meditation room, computers, lockers, snacks/coffee, and free printing.
Other resources include in-center access to mental health counseling, success coaching, veteran benefits, academic enrichment programs, disability accommodations and more. The SVRC is there for their military members and is more than happy to answer any questions students and potential students may have.
Like San Diego, colleges and universities across the nation have Veteran resource centers on campus. Check with your local community college or university to see what resources are available.
Other Resource Centers
Like the resource centers on college campuses, many cities have veteran resource centers. Often times these resource centers can be found at the local libraries, but locations may vary by city or state. Check your city’s home page to see if a veteran resource center is available in your area. If you live in a small city, consider checking with the nearest major metropolitan area.
Individual counties also often have their own veterans service offices and programs to assist veterans in the community. The Veterans Service Offices collaborate with the Department of Veterans Affairs and nationally recognized service organizations to help veterans navigate benefits, claims, special rates and discounts that may be available specifically for veterans and members of the military, and services that may be available to them.
The Department of Veterans Affairs
The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) has several locations spread throughout the country. They are responsible for providing imperative information and services to America’s veterans. The VA provides health care/benefit services and programs to our former military personnel and their dependents. For more information, or to find your nearest VA location, click here.
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Affairs (VFW) is another resource who’s mission is “To foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve veterans, the military and communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans.” They want veterans to be respected for their service and to always receive their earned entitlements.
The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members. Service members include active, guard and reserve branches.
This organization is a good resource to obtain information and gives members access to certain programs, services and special rates/discounts. Click here to see the qualifications for the VFW or to find a location near you.
Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country. It’s nice to know that there are organizations out there that are willing to take care and help them, just like how they took care of us while serving our nation.