This collection of resources related to veterans services is curated by the staff of the Government Innovators Network.
This inventory provides a list of federal government programs and initiatives designed to assist veterans in finding jobs and information about other benefits they may be eligible for. The list was put together by the Government Accountability Office upon finding that no such central resource existed. Read the GAO's full report.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is creating a process through which benefits appeals hearings can take place in a virtual hearing room, such that all parties—the judge, the veteran, and the veteran’s representative—can be in remote locations. This new tele-hearing system aims to make the appeals process more convenient and efficient for both the veterans and the Board of Veterans Affairs.
Desert Sun (USA Today)
The Veteran’s Easy Access Program is an official program of the Salvation Army, started by one veteran and his wife who both wanted to make life a bit easier for veterans in California's Coachella Valley by providing them with access to information about all available benefits in one place.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Foster Home Program is an alternative to nursing homes for veterans who can no longer live on their own. The program allows veterans to move into a foster family’s home and receive continuous care including food, transportation, and companionship for the remainder of their lives.
Big Ten Network
Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) is a program designed to provide support to veterans on college campuses. The program matches incoming student veterans with returning student veterans who help them navigate college life, overcome challenges, seek out available resources, and find their place in an environment they may struggle to fit into.
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School
The Army Career Skills Program is a program designed by the Department of Defense and the United States Army that provides apprenticeships, internships, job shadowing, and job training opportunities to servicemembers just prior to their departure from the Army. This program equips servicemembers with the skills, credentials, and experience necessary to succeed in their civilian careers. The program was a finalist for the 2018 Innovations in American Government Awards.
Harvard Business School
The Call of Duty Endowment is a nonprofit founded in 2009 that funds other nonprofits offering high quality, cost-efficient job placement services for veterans in an effort to combat the issue of veteran unemployment.
The Columbian (Vancouver, Washington)
Boots 2 Roots PDX is a nine-month program that provides veterans with vocational training in horticulture and farming, as well as offering the opportunity to spend time outside and grow their own food. In doing so, the program promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle for veterans across the country.
Built For Zero is a national program that uses a data-based process to allow agencies to track their local homeless population to determine who needs services. By locating homeless veterans, collecting information about their individual circumstances, and working with local landlords and public housing agencies, Built For Zero helps to eradicate veteran homelessness in cities around the country.
Ball State University Magazine
This year, Steadfast Indiana, an organization dedicated to combating veteran homelessness, partnered with students and faculty from Ball State University’s Master of Urban Design Program to develop an affordable housing community for veterans on an abandoned mobile home park in Indianapolis.
The Brunswick News (Georgia)
The Golden Isles College and Career Academy, a public charter school, in partnership with a local nonprofit, has undertaken the construction of a residence for veterans using two shipping containers. Through a human service agency's rehousing program, veterans in need of shelter will have the opportunity to be placed in the new home once finished.
The American Homefront Project
DE-CRUIT is a traveling, seven-week-long workshop that allows veterans to work through their experiences from military service using creative writing, breathing techniques, and by performing Shakespeare. Participants have reported fewer PTSD and depression symptoms after completing the program.
The Harvard Gazette
In a scientific trial led by faculty members from Harvard Medical School and clinicians from Massachusetts General Hospital, former service members detailed their experiences from war to a songwriter who then would craft lyrics and music out of those experiences. This technique, pioneered in 2011 by a singer/songwriter from Texas, has shown promising results in terms of reducing PTSD among veterans.
Arizona Central (USA Today)
Facing the country's sixth-highest veteran suicide rate, Arizona officials, along with officials from six other states, met in February 2019 with federal representatives, veterans, and health-care experts to discuss strategies to combat the nationwide epidemic of veteran suicide. Federal officials aim to implement, with help from these states, a 10-year national plan to prevent veteran suicides that centers around a collaborative relationship between federal, state, and local government.
The White House, in an attempt to tackle the pervasive issue of veteran suicide, has developed an initiative that includes community outreach grants for former service members and expanded research coordination and prevention efforts. Officials hope to reignite national conversations about veteran suicide and encourage new voices to lend help in finding solutions.
Monroe News (Michigan)
The Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System has developed an outreach program in which the agency partners with faith-based organizations to assist them in providing veterans in crisis with essential tools such as information about resources.
Wisconsin Public Radio
Using a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the nonprofit Mental Health America of Wisconsin has started a peer-run respite home specifically for veterans, the first of its kind in the U.S. The main goal of the program is to prevent suicide among veterans in Wisconsin, half of whom, the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates, are not accessing the state’s various finance, healthcare, and housing-related programs.
The Mercury News (San Jose, California)
The Animal Rescue Foundation is expanding its Pets and Vets program, which trains rescue dogs to become service animals for veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, and other service-related illnesses. By building a new veterans center, the Animal Rescue Foundation aims to increase the number of dogs that they can take in as well as reduce the wait time to receive a service dog.
Motorcycle Relief Project is a nonprofit organization that provides relief to veterans and first responders with PTSD and other related issues by taking them on structured and professionally led dual-sport motorcycle adventures. Their mission is to honor and encourage veterans and first responders who are struggling and provide them with opportunities to decompress, get unstuck, connect with like-minded peers, and gain new perspectives and skills for dealing with their issues, relationships and futures.
This article discusses the Veteran Photo Recovery Project founded at the VA Menlo Park, through which veterans use photography to battle mental illness, as well as the documentary Visions of Warriors that chronicles this work.
Support for Caregivers
The Signal (Santa Clarita Valley, California)
With foundational support, the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) — the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization — is assisting and empowering caregivers of servicemembers and veterans through novel, evidence-based programs.