At the National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC) on University Hill, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) announced the launch of SyracuseServes, a new support network for veterans and their families. The SyracuseServes Coordination Center will be headquartered at the NVRC.
“Because of SU, the City of Syracuse is fortunate to be home to IVMF, one of the nation’s top centers of support for the post-service lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families,” said Mayor Walsh. “The IVMF’s AmericaServes program is a proven model for coordinating the resources available in local communities for veterans and their families. I am grateful to Chancellor Kent Syverud and Vice Chancellor Haynie for answering the community’s call to establish a SyracuseServes network here in the City of Syracuse.”
In collaboration 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 Syracuse network will use lessons from the IVMF’s community-based work across the U.S. 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 work alongside existing local providers to enhance and improve access to care and services for 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.