Eric Watson ’91 wasn’t envisioning himself as a U.S. Marine Corps aviator when he first came to Syracuse University. The Washington D.C., native originally intended on studying computer science, but as is the case with many college students, Watson realized…
SyracuseServes Partnering with City of Syracuse, Local Community to Support Syracuse Veterans and Military Families
On Wednesday June 23, AmericaServes, a national initiative of Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), will launch in Syracuse. Working collaboratively with the City of Syracuse, the network will connect veterans and their families to local community providers to ensure care, resources and services are easily and successfully navigable. The overall goal is to maximize collaboration and enhance efficiency for the regional network of providers. The Coordination Center will be headquartered in the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building at the National Veterans Resource Center.
The Syracuse network will use lessons from AmericaServes’ 17 other communities, including Rochester, New York; Dallas; Seattle; Charlotte, North Carolina; Pittsburgh; New York City; and Washington, D.C. Some services include help with VA benefits, employment assistance, education, transportation, mental/behavioral health resources and housing.
The IVMF, is the first interdisciplinary academic institute in higher education dedicated to advocacy, research, support for military veterans and their families, identified the need for coordinated care for military families. IVMF’s research indicates that navigating services is the biggest challenge in transition—rating higher than finding employment, adjusting to civilian culture and overcoming financial challenges.
In addition, military families grapple with systemic challenges of equity and accessibility, as post 9/11 veterans are more likely than previous generations to be persons of color and to have disabilities resulting from their military service. Often, disparate organizations must work together in a community to support veteran families, which leads to challenges collaborating and sharing information efficiently. This creates a confounding process that does not meet a family’s needs.
Supported by a $500,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, SyracuseServes will support the city’s veterans and military-connected population first through a coordinated application to final service delivery. Military families will receive efficient and timely support, as well as access to a wide range of needed resources.
J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor of strategic initiatives and innovation and founder of the IVMF, says he is proud to launch a program that will serve local Syracuse veterans and their families, including the many who study and work on the campus.
“This grant is one example of how we’re bringing the vision of the NVRC to life in a practical way, leveraging the facility and the IVMF’s expertise to serve the social and wellness needs of veterans and families right here in Central New York,” Haynie says.