New coordinated network for veterans, SCServes – Lowcountry, opening in August to support South Carolina’s Charleston, Beaufort, and Myrtle Beach area veterans, service members and their families.
Charleston, S.C. (June 15, 2016) – This August, South Carolina takes its first transformative steps in ensuring its veterans and their families have access to the most comprehensively-arrayed network of services, resources, and care by calling one phone number or visiting just one website. The Lowcountry now joins a number of innovative approaches underway across this country to best serve veterans, service members and their families.
This new coastal South Carolina initiative known as SCServes – Lowcountry is part of a broader national effort, AmericaServes, shepherded by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), which aims to better address the needs of service members, veterans, and their families through streamlined access to high quality providers on a coordinated basis. Currently, there are AmericaServes networks operating in Charlotte, NC; Raleigh/Durham, NC; Pittsburgh, PA and New York, NY. New coordinated networks are preparing to launch in Coastal North Carolina, as well as the Pacific Northwest.
The SCServes – Lowcountry network will provide improved coordination and care to veterans in nine South Carolina coastal counties including: Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Georgetown, Jasper, Hampton and Horry counties. These counties are home to over 120,000 veterans or more than half of South Carolina’s total veteran population. More than 60 federal, state, local government and nonprofit veteran service providers support veterans and their families in this area but they have not been coordinated until now.
Following a very competitive RFP process in which dozens of community and government organizations were given an opportunity to compete, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) has awarded the Military Community Connection of North Charleston a $450,000, multi-year grant to serve as the SCServes – Lowcountry’s coordinating entity. Proposals were evaluated by a team of local veterans’ advocates, national community leaders involved in the AmericaServes network, and IVMF leadership. As the Lowcountry Coordination Center, the Military Community Connection will work in partnership with the state, area military bases, Veterans Affairs (VA), and over 60 public and nonprofit service providers throughout the region to continuously improve the quality, efficiency and accountability of veteran programs and services.
SCServes-Lowcountry is scheduled to go live on August 2, 2016. The launch of this fifth AmericaServes coordinated network is the first in South Carolina and it joins two fully functioning networks in North Carolina, with two more in development in that state. SCServes – Lowcountry’s Northern coverage area (Horry County) will seamlessly overlap the adjoining coastal regions of North Carolina’s upcoming Coastal Network (Brunswick and New Hanover County), providing a first of its kind cross border coordination ensuring no veteran seeking services is left behind.
The SCServes – Lowcountry coordination effort is a uniquely tailored set of community defined best practices facilitated by the private support of philanthropic partners harnessed by IVMF and its partner Accenture, the global business management and consulting firm. The AmericaServes model is further enhanced by a state of the art shared software platform delivered by Unite US in order to coordinate and track referrals, manage outcomes and create real accountability in the veterans space. Shared data sets, standardized measures of wait times, outcomes and customer satisfaction set this network apart from others.
“Successfully integrating military and veteran families into their communities’ while addressing and meeting their needs is a complex problem set which involves multiple–often overlapping–providers and various systems across the nine county geographic area with pre-existing relationships and resources that change regularly,” said Marie Elana Roland, CEO of Military Community Connection (MCC). “MCC has developed strong relationships within the provider community while gaining the trust of the veteran community in specific areas of focus such as finding employment, training, education, housing, healthcare, mental health and even temporary assistance. Working together with our partners at IVMF, Accenture and Unite US, as well as major funders and foundations, the SCServes-Lowcountry initiative builds unity within our community to achieve one common ground: seamless care for veterans and their families with ‘no veteran left behind.’”
The goal of these public-private networks is to smartly connect each unique service member, veteran, or their family member to providers that can then best meet their needs in a timely fashion. Offering a true ‘no wrong door’ approach, the SCServes-Lowcountry coordination center will be available by calling a toll-free hotline with licensed professionals standing by. Alternatively, veterans, service members and their families can submit their request directly through the SCServes-Lowcountry website. Both the website and the hotline will go live on August 2.
Dr. Mike Haynie, Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University said, “South Carolina is implementing a program to enhance the care and services for service members, veterans and their families. What is being done here in South Carolina can serve as a template for other states and regions across America. We are proud to see this initiative grow across state lines and hope that more service providers across America come together to address one of the greatest challenges faced by our veterans, service members, and families – and that is navigating the world of benefits, care and services.”
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Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications, Institute for Veterans and Military Families,
(315) 443-5690, m: (315) 558-9483, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie Elana Roland, CEO, Military Community Connection, (864)-832-0715, Meroland@mccunite.org
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families
The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Read more at IVMF
About Military Community Connection
Military Community Connection (MCC) is a recognized leader in coordinating veterans services across the coastal regions of South Carolina. Since its inception, MCC has been building networks of providers and organizing existing community resources to meet the needs of veteran and military members and their families. MCC’s leadership and staff are the convening force behind monthly regional working groups across all functional areas of veteran needs including employment, housing, transportation, education, subsistence, health and wellness, spiritual support, mentoring and volunteering. For more information, please visit Military Community Connection.