Program to help returning veterans and their families receive critical support and services - from housing and employment assistance to behavioral health services
Washington, D.C. – After more than a decade of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, many returning veterans and their families have difficulty readjusting to community life, with many experiencing a tough time finding jobs or adequate housing, or suffering from mental, physical and substance use disorders. Today, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the National Guard Bureau and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a unique new program called VetCorps to help returning veterans and their families access the critical services and support they need – ranging from social, mental and physical health services to housing and employment assistance.
With funding support from CNCS, CADCA will recruit military veterans to serve as AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members within CADCA’s community coalitions across the country. Community coalitions are multi-sector organizations that bring together key community institutions and volunteers to solve challenging local problems. The AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members will work within the coalition’s existing infrastructure to increase the community’s capacity to provide economic opportunities for veterans and their families and to ensure that they receive necessary housing, health care services and family support, to include substance abuse prevention and treatment. In its first year, VetCorps will place up to 100 full-time AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members in CADCA coalitions located in 28 states.
Members of the National Guard & Reserves (NGR) have deployed in unprecedented numbers. Since September 11, 2001, 830,866 NGR have been deployed. According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study, 18.5 percent of military members returning from military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan have deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression and 19.5 percent report experiencing a traumatic brain injury. For National Guard & Reserve members, deployment stresses have an even greater impact due to disparities in available services.According to the Department of Defense's Millennium Cohort Study, 22 percent of NGR members were problem drinkers, 29 percent had financial problems, 12 percent reported feeling lonely and 5 percent had suicidal thoughts.
“We developed VetCorps to improve the overall quality of life for veterans and military families, particularly National Guard and Reserve members who don’t benefit from services readily available on military bases, such as family support centers and counseling services,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean. “What makes VetCorps unique is that by recruiting veterans to serve as AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members, we will be using the valuable skills and knowledge of veterans to help other veterans in the community.”
“Supporting our nation's troops, veterans, and military families is critical to our national security and to strengthening our communities, and national service plays a key role in this mission,” said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which has made supporting veterans and military families one of its top strategic priorities. “The honor and selflessness of our veterans makes America proud, but all of us can do more to support them during their deployment, homecoming, and transition back to day-to-day life. We salute CADCA for developing this program – the largest Veterans Corps we have supported to date – and hope veterans across the country will apply for this opportunity to serve their country again by supporting their fellow veterans and their families.”
“The National Guard greatly values community organizations and projects such as this that support our veterans and their families,” said Major General David L. Harris, Director, J-3/7, National Guard Bureau.
CADCA is actively recruiting for the AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA positions. If you are a veteran and are interested in learning more about the VetCorps program, visit www.cadca.org/VetCorps.
CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions and their affiliates working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA's mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy and advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
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