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Building a Military Affairs Initiative United Way of Greater Houston June 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Building a Military Affairs Initiative United Way of Greater Houston June 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building a Military Affairs Initiative United Way of Greater Houston June 2014

2 Presenters Cornelius Blackshear Texas/United Way HELPLINE Curtis McMinn United Way Community Impact

3

4 Objectives Identify ways you can build a veterans initiative in your community Leveraging I&R and established partnerships to address veterans gaps Using Community Conversations to engage veterans and define a direction for your initiative

5 United Way of Greater Houston More than 90 years serving our community 50+ million a year in programs – Seniors independence – Strengthen families and neighborhoods – Individuals rebuilding their lives – Developing children and youth to their full potential Key role in convening organizations and building collaboration across the community

6 Background Growing population of military personnel in Harris County Increasing numbers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) conflicts Unique needs for this generation of veterans

7 United Way’s Military Affairs Initiative Timeline Awarded Triad Grant San Antonio Area Foundation Hired Veteran Call Specialist Continued building knowledge Hired additional Veteran Call Specialist Education & Outreach Veterans’ Study and Response Collaboration and Capacity Building

8 BACKGROUND ( ) Awarded Triad Grant San Antonio Area Foundation Hired a Veteran Specialist Provided military specific services and advocacy in Harris County Created Returning Veteran’s Guide (RVI Guide) Participated in Gulf Coast Veteran Initiative United Way Gathered military specific data Increased knowledge of workforce on military needs and available services

9 BACKGROUND (2011-Present) Hired Additional Veteran Specialist Increase military specific services and advocacy to include all of the Gulf Coast Region Address information gaps, make appropriate referral connections and strengthen collaborations with veteran service providers United Way Education and outreach training for service providers Utilize United Way’s convening expertise to bring veteran service groups together

10 Military Statistics (2013) CitiesSum HOUSTON37824 SPRING1880 KATY1408 HUMBLE1395 BAYTOWN863 PASADENA791 MISSOURI CITY736 CYPRESS687 CONROE633 GALVESTON555 PEARLAND402 TEXAS CITY371 RICHMOND364 DEER PARK348 LA PORTE334 SUGAR LAND333 ARLINGTON327 WEBSTER321 DICKINSON315 CROSBY313 TOMBALL301 WACO276 CHANNELVIEW266 MONTGOMERY260 AMARILLO258 LEAGUE CITY256 KINGWOOD255 STAFFORD250 ROSENBERG246 ALVIN243 CLEVELAND243 TypeSum Veteran49748 Active Duty1990 Grand Total51738 Service BranchSum Army28667 Navy9735 Air Force6438 Marine Corps5305 National Guard1228 Coast Guard364 Military Branch1 Grand Total51738

11 Community OS Taxonomy (2013) TaxonomySum Electric Service Payment Assistance8461 Rent Payment Assistance8048 Food Pantries4700 Veterans4033 Veteran Benefits Assistance3755 Transitional Case/Care Management1983 Food Stamps/SNAP1895 Water Service Payment Assistance1207 Homeless Veterans1186 Gas Service Payment Assistance985 Families of Veterans984 Specialized Information and Referral936 Homeless Shelter868 VITA Program Sites765 Prescription Expense Assistance708 Mortgage Payment Assistance680 General Legal Aid641 Housing Authorities633 Low Income/Subsidized Private Rental Housing603 Area Agencies on Aging549 General Dentistry471 Comprehensive Job Assistance Centers442 Medicaid Applications429 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers415 Community Clinics393 Adult Protective Intervention/Investigation379 Home Delivered Meals336 Comprehensive Information and Referral334 Home Rehabilitation Services333 Families of Military Personnel/Veterans329

12 United Way Military Affairs Initiative Texas/United Way HELPLINE Benefits Employment Education Housing & Homelessness Female Veterans Post 9/11 Military Components We Remember

13 United Way Military Affairs Initiative Texas/United Way HELPLINE Boots on the Ground Increase awareness of in 13 Gulf Coast Counties “Serving Those Who Serve” educational series for providers Identify Community Resources to enhance I&R First point of contact with UW

14 Pre Veterans’ Study Texas/United Way HELPLINE - Reintegration - outreach -Follow ups Community Impact -Programs serving everyone -Not tracking veterans - Little program focus on veterans Donor Relations -Donors interested in veterans issues - Limited ways to connect with veterans work

15 MORE NEEDED TO BE DONE! …BUT WHAT?

16 Veterans’ Issue Study August 2012 – December 2012 Four Components – Provider online survey – Community Conversations with veterans – Employer focus groups – Targeted conversations with key agencies Serves as the foundation for our future work!

17 Community Conversations Kitchen-table style conversations Often had snacks/meal Used staff and volunteers to conduct Facilitator and note taker Same questions asked everywhere Identified common themes

18 Conversation Activity Conversation Leader Conversation Note taker Participants

19 WHAT WERE YOUR CONVERSATION THEMES?

20 Striking Consistency in Findings Transition from structured military life to unstructured civilian life difficult Difficulty translating military skills to civilian workplace Perception that service is not valued Access to services in a timely way difficult Ability to interact with other veterans is critical

21 Conversation Quotes “I spent two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I helped spread democracy and gave people a chance at freedom. Now, I’m a junior analyst looking at spreadsheets every day. I’m grateful, but it just can’t compare.” - Afghanistan veteran

22 Conversation Quotes “In the military, your resume is pages long. You list every project you had a role in. In the civilian world, employers think a shorter resume is better. It is hard to translate what I learned in the military to some of the job openings I see online. When I do get an interview, I feel like all I can talk about is my military experience, and it seems like the interview goes downhill quickly.” - Iraq veteran

23 How did we respond? Connected Community Impact and Donor Relations with our established veterans work in Created the Veteran Services Grant, a small dollar grant to address common themes through collaboration and innovation; donors decided approval Convened veteran serving and interested organizations together to begin breaking down barriers

24 How did we respond? Quarterly Veteran Service Provider Meeting with average of 40 participants Nine veteran service grants in 2013 More than 15 applicants for 2014 with focus on collaboration

25 Training and Collaborating Serving Those Who Serve Educational Series Strengthening the safety net for veterans and their families Preparing for increase of veterans in the Harris county area due to military downsize

26 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE - Reintegration - Outreach -Follow ups Community Impact -Investing in veteran grants -Working with all partners to serve veterans - Strengthening veteran serving nonprofits Donor Relations - Communicating veteran issues to donor companies -Veteran-specific volunteer opportunities -Marketing materials

27 5 Tips to Success Stay true to your mission and services Identify ways to incorporate veterans into your established work Even if a community partner hasn’t served veterans doesn’t mean they can’t serve veterans! Don’t assume you know the problems…ask first!

28 Questions?


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