military outreach

Policy, Practice, and Outreach

Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative

The school’s military and veterans programs operates the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative, which comprises of hundreds of community stakeholders, agencies, and representatives serving veterans and military families in Greater Los Angeles.

Founded in New Directions in February 2010, and now at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work since March 2012, this collective-impact approach is the lynchpin and mechanism for social change and innovation across veteran sectors in Los Angeles.

Collaborative stakeholders gather on a monthly basis, organized through working groups, to address the systemic problems that affect the well-being of veterans and military families in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative
Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative

Learn more about joining the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative or the Los Angeles Veterans Orientation.
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Our Mission, Vision and Support

Mission
The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative is a structured network of public, private and government agencies working together to reduce suffering and improve the lives of veterans, service members and military families in LA County. This is achieved through strategically improving their access to services, reducing barriers and coordinating care, and influencing policy to improve their lives.

Vision
Veterans living in Los Angeles County will know where to access the services and care they need for a successful transition from military to civilian life. A comprehensive and coordinated system will welcome, introduce, and connect service members, veterans and their families to a seamless infrastructure of resources to adequately address their needs.

Support
The work of the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative cannot be accomplished without the gracious support from these philanthropic funders:

  • Deloitte
  • May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
  • Maurice Amado Foundation
  • Newman’s Own Foundation
  • Prudential Foundation
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • US Bank
  • The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

Working Groups

The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative (LAVC) is a structured network of over 300 public, private, and government agencies from across multiple sectors working together to improve the lives of veterans, service members and military families in Los Angeles County. Our mission is achieved by strategically coordinating and improving veteran access to services, reducing barriers to care, and influencing policy to improve the lives of veterans and their families. Since 2012, the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) has managed the collaborative and hosted monthly LAVC meetings held on the second Wednesday of every month. LAVC is organized into 11 working groups addressing different veteran needs.

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Working Groups - Details

Behavioral Health

The Behavioral Health Working Group consists of agencies, social workers, family therapists, and practitioners who provide behavioral health support to veterans and their families throughout Los Angeles. The working group centers on identifying the unique needs and challenges of veterans, increasing their access to behavioral health care, and recognizing best practices for veteran treatment.

Activities and Achievements

  • This working group is currently developing a referral system to ensure that veterans living in the San Gabriel Valley can access qualified behavioral and mental health resources. Outreach may be coordinated next year to bring training resources to mental health practitioners in this part of the County.
  • The group has developed a list of behavioral health resources.
  • Addressing Compassion Fatigue Among Service Providers, is a pilot project that examined the use of in-service education and training to address compassion fatigue. 180 mental health professionals from seven organizations were presented with one-hour in-service training to increase awareness of stress factors and symptoms of compassion fatigue.

Career Advancement

This working group educates employers, develops best practices for service providers, and identifies veterans in need of meaningful employment.
 
Activities and Achievements
  • The Veterans Employment Services (VES) project was developed within the Career Advancement working group to examine collaborative approaches to improving career transitions. A group of seven initial organizations (including CIR) are working together to currently focuses on employment services for veterans, with the goals of reducing redundancies in services,identifying and filling service gaps, creating a system with multiple entry points for veterans, and ultimately improving employment outcomes.
  • Developed an updated list of employment resources.

    Health Care

    The Health Care Working Group is currently educating veterans about healthy strategies to promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle utilizing the whole health model.

    Activities and Achievements

    • Organized outreach events to educate veterans about healthy strategies to promote a healthy lifestyle.
    • Veteran Healthcare Knowledge in the Antelope Valley: this team is creating a geographically specific plan in Antelope Valley to address the high incidence of service-connected disabilities, including mental health challenges, as well as the limited 33% awareness of locally-available VA services and more than 50% non-usage of VA services.

    Families & Children

    The Families & Children Working Group includes military spouses, adult children of military families, social workers, and family advocates. The working group focuses on heightening awareness and impacting policy related to the concerns and needs of military-affiliated (connected) children and their families.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The Families and Children Working Group helped coordinate a back-to-school drive for school-aged children from military families who lacked the resources to purchase school supplies and backpacks. A total of 100 children received backpacks and school supplies. Also, $18,000 were raised and distributed to 24 military-connected families during the holiday season.
    • The group has developed a list of resources.

    Higher Education

    The Higher Education Working Group consists of admission coordinators, and veteran resource center contacts from community colleges, trade schools, and universities across Los Angeles County. This working group strives to develop and share best practices with schools, and develop an agenda of work items that can drive a better educational experience for veterans in Los Angeles.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The 2017-18 State Budget appropriated $5 million in ongoing funding to support the expansion of community college Veteran Resource Centers (VRCs) across the state.
    • CIR has recently begun collaborating with other institutions of higher education to co-host the monthly LAVC meetings – in July 2018 we are co-hosting with California State University Los Angeles and in September 2018 with University of California Los Angeles.

    Housing & Homelessness

    The Housing & Homelessness Working Group consists of VA-contracted agencies, housing authorities, individual nonprofits and organizations working with homeless veterans. With thousands of veterans sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles and hundreds of agencies working with homeless veterans throughout the county, this group works to solve systemic issues, influence policy, and educate and rally providers toward more coordination and better services.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The veteran service organizations within this working group are collaborating and broadening their outreach efforts to decrease veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County.
    • The group has developed an updated list of housing resources.
    • Meals on Wheels (MOW) is a pilot project launched in 2017. Volunteers conduct wellness checks, provide information on community-based resources, and contact health care providers when necessary, while delivering daily meals to housebound veterans. Initial results of this pilot have been very encouraging, as more than 4,000 meals were delivered to 34 veterans new to the Meals on Wheels program in tandem with the wellness checks and accompanying access to resources. MOW has recently become available to veterans in Westwood.

    Legal & Re-Entry

    The Legal and Re-Entry Working Group consists of lawyers, legal professionals, policymakers, public counsel, and Veteran Affairs (VA) legal teams. The working group focuses on policy objectives, education, identifying laws affecting veterans and service delivery, building capacity with legal professionals to work with veteran clients in Los Angeles, and organizing to solve large-scale legal barriers facing veterans with criminal or legal issues.
     
    Activities and Achievements
    • The Legal and Re-Entry Working Group established The Community Veteran Justice project (CVJ)to work with those veterans who have become involved in the justice system. CVJ(https://www.cvjp.org/) works to ensure that veterans facing criminal charges obtain alternative sentencing rather than incarceration, and diversion for misdemeanor cases that allow for treatment and then dismissal.
    • On a broader systemic level, CVJ is working to revise and include this information in the VALOR Guide, which is a comprehensive database of all known providers of pro-bono legal services for veterans in Los Angeles County.
    • CVJ has developed the Veteran Alternative Sentencing Training for attorneys and other legal professionals working with veterans. The first training session was held on June 21, 2018 at Patriotic Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.
    • Developed an updated list of legal resources.

    Women Veterans

    The Women Veterans Working Group consists of community outreach professionals, social workers, and policy advocates from veteran service organizations, public agencies, and community groups across Los Angeles County. This working group strives to develop strategies to ensure that the needs of female veterans are understood and met within the community.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The Women Veterans Working Group Increased its membership over the past year and developed a reliable network of services for women veterans and their families.
    • The group has developed a list of resources.

    Policy

    • This is a newly formed working group and we are in the process of identifying the working group leaders and establishing goals and action items.

    Recreation Rehabilitation

    The Recreation Working Group strives to educate and explore how recreation can be utilized and accessed by the veteran community to: a) assist with healing, coping, reintegration, and improving quality of life; b) develop best practices; and c) heighten awareness regarding the impact of recreation on Los Angeles’ veteran community.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The Recreation Rehabilitation group is currently working to increase awareness of the impact of recreation on the veteran community by providing free adaptive sports programs for veterans and military spouses such as hiking, water sports, fly fishing, and cooking.

    Faith-Based

    The Faith-Based Working Group consists of chaplains, rabbis, clergy and pastors who seek to learn, educate and share best practices for working with veterans and military families in their respective communities. This working group differs from the others because it is not centered around a specific need, but encompasses communities already working with veterans. Many of the faith-based members work together in other working groups.

    Activities and Achievements

    • Ecumenical Military Training: Developed a 12-week ecumenical military ministry training course to be implemented at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
    • Media Kit: Developing a media toolkit detailing how service providers and civilians can get involved with faith-based organizations and the importance in the work they do.
    • Interfaith Prayer Breakfast: Planning to host an interfaith prayer breakfast on Memorial Day with key players as a networking event to boost working group participation and engagement.

    Access and Engagement

    Our goal is to act as a community hub through which veterans in need, veteran peers and service coordinators may access and communicate all services while facilitating broader community engagement and advocacy in veterans issues and initiatives.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The A&E Working Group’s overarching vision is accountability and access to assistance for all veterans as well as increased communication, collaboration and service delivery improvement among providers.

    Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine

    The purpose of this group is to provide treatment of PTSD and pain management for Veterans.

    Activities and Achievements

    • The new working group’s first milestone was to provide free acupuncture services for veterans during Veterans’ Day, which was secured through extensive outreach and education to acupuncturists throughout the County.

    Behavioral Health

    Career Advancement

    health care

    Health Care

    Families & Children

    Higher Education

    Housing & Homelessness

    Legal & Re-Entry

    Women Veterans

    Policy

    Recreation-Rehabilitation

    Recreation Rehabilitation

    Faith

    Access & Engagement

    Acupuncture & Alternative Medicine

     
     

    Los Angeles Veterans Orientation

    The school’s military and veterans programs hosts quarterly peer-network and engagement events for newly separated veterans new to Los Angeles.

    The Los Angeles Veterans Orientation provides a casual, informal community for veterans to discuss their needs, obtain information about available resources, and access the robust veteran network in Los Angeles.

    Quarterly orientations, hosted various sites across Los Angeles County, maintain a friendly small community approach with 50-100 veterans attending each month.

    To learn more about the Los Angeles Veterans Orientation, please contact Gisele Corletto.

    View Our Upcoming Events:

    Los Angeles Veterans Orientation and Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative Meetings

     

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