North Dakota Military Veterans Support Is Improving
There's a news-generating site called Public News Service and in my opinion, it is a real service when Mike Moen is a contributor.
Mike writes North Dakota content usually from what seems to me to be a social service perspective and his parent company's disclaimer cites connections to a variety of groups and is stated transparently.
His latest focus is on North Dakota agencies becoming more cohesive in their direct day-to-day departmental dealings with military veterans and their challenges with housing and dependence.
If you do want to skip my spoiler alerts and go to the source...
Now, this shouldn't seem like a miracle, but to many, it just may be. I'll say it all seems pretty positive to me. Here's my disclaimer- my sister recently retired as a heavy hitter in North Dakota Social Services. So I'm never going to infer there hasn't always been a serious effort underway, but this forward motion was really was good to read about.
Now, funded agencies in ND are coordinating efforts to assist military veterans by minimizing gaps in support systems.
Well, good deal.
Through a Department of Veterans Affairs grant, Community Action Partnership of North Dakota and Legal Services of North Dakota team up to work with veterans who need a legal issue resolved before proceeding with a housing application, or to avoid being forced from their current home.
So these organizations address both root causes and root solutions. Where one agency's expertise assists in certain areas the other agency can cover different ground. I'm certain if citizens felt they had advocates who would support them in a number of different situations it would be very reassuring
Not everyone is blessed with the ability to navigate forms and paperwork
I say that because I have a hard time keeping track of filing paperwork and making sure all proper documents are in order...and I don't even have many of either of those. It's just not how I'm wired. Can we at least for veterans make sure they have easy access to a unified system that concentrates on keeping them from slipping back into the cracks?
Safari Berry is a supportive services for veteran families case manager with Red River Valley Community Action. She cited a number of common factors they see in working with clients.
"Prior evictions that are a barrier to them receiving new rentals," said Berry. "Also, to lower child-support payments. That's a huge one for my veterans, and it's a very big barrier for them to be able to afford housing."
A low-income veteran - receiving help through CAP-ND's Supportive Services for Veteran Families program - is referred to Legal Services in these scenarios.
Unlike past referrals, the two organizations now work more closely with each other to remove red flags from a client's record, and following up as needed.
Those involved say a more robust approach - as opposed to handing off a case to another agency - can help veterans feel like they're getting the support they need.
So hopefully instead of referrals, we'll see more direct engagement. It's not a critique, it's congratulations. Military veterans have earned every inch of support.