As a Marine combat engineer with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, John Gibson’s job was to identify improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines, place and clear obstacles, lay out concertina wire and build bunkers. This essential, physical and tactile combat…
IVMF Launches SCServes-Lowcountry Network to Assist Nation’s Vets
A VIP ribbon cutting and keynote address from U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Christopher Lu were held Tuesday, Aug. 2, to mark the launch of SCServes-Lowcountry network, connecting South Carolina human service providers to more effectively manage service requests from veterans and their families. The new network will enable service members, veterans and their families to digitally access a comprehensive array of services, resources and care through online self-referral, by phone or in person at the Charleston-based VAMC.
While new to coastal South Carolina, the initiative is part of a broader national effort, AmericaServes, led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) with support from the Walmart Foundation, which provides the strategy and resources for communities to better address the needs of service members, veterans and their families. Through coordinated access to vetted service providers, SCServes-Lowcountry joins a portfolio of national partners that have connected over 3,722 veterans, service members and military families to more than 6,300 types of comprehensive services in less than two years. Read Charleston VA/IVMF blog on SCServes Public-Private partnership.
“Community participation is paramount to ensuring that we develop a true, collectively designed network that is tailored to meet the needs of South Carolina-area veterans, transitioning service members, and their families,” says J. Michael Haynie, executive director and founder of the IVMF and Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University. “We are hopeful that what is being done here in the lowcountry can serve as a template for other regions, just like our first North Carolina network in Charlotte has become a national model for helping veterans and their families successfully navigate the complex world of benefits, care and services.”
Brig. Gen. Gary Profit (Ret.), senior director of Military Programs at Walmart, reinforced the importance of organizing local services, resources and care for veterans and their families. “It’s exciting to think that a company started over 50 years ago by an Army captain has grown to the place where it can help shine a light on those who served,” said Profit. “We are very proud that the program we helped launch through the support of the Walmart Foundation in Charlotte last year in collaboration with IVMF, Accenture and Unite US, is now expanding across both of the Carolinas—home to 1.2 million veterans and some of America’s greatest military bases. Lives are being changed for the better—not by reinventing the wheel, but rather making the wheel turn smarter,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Labor is working to meet the needs of veterans and their families through services provided at American Job Centers and through programs like the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP). “The Obama Administration has made great strides to improve the coordination of services to veterans, but there is still more to do,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu. “Public-private partnerships like the AmericaServes initiative are critical to bringing together government entities and the thousands of local and nonprofit providers that all share the same mission of service.”
Local nonprofit Military Community Connection (MCC) will coordinate the SCServes-Lowcountry initiative and is further enabled by a state-of-the-art software platform delivered by Unite US, a veteran-owned and operated technology company. Under MCC’s leadership, SCServes-Lowcountry network providers can enter and track referrals, coordinate service delivery, manage shared outcomes and drive accountability among network members. Shared data sets, standardized measures for wait times, outcomes and customer satisfaction are what set this network apart from others.
The SCServes-Lowcountry network will coordinate services for veterans and military families across nine South Carolina coastal counties, including Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Georgetown, Jasper, Hampton and Horry. These counties are home to over 120,000 veterans, which comprise more than half of South Carolina’s total veteran population. Over 40 federal, state, local government and nonprofit veteran service providers will participate as network providers. Offering a true “no wrong door” approach, the SCServes-Lowcountry Coordination Center—MCC—will be available by calling a toll-free hotline, 1.855.355.1200, with licensed professionals standing by. Alternatively, veterans, service members and their families can submit their request directly through the SCServes—Lowcountry website at http://www.scserves.org.