the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Veterans

Update from the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee: Resources for Finding, Reaching, and Assisting Veterans in Your State

John Johnson, NCIL Veterans Subcommittee Co-Chair, recently attended and presented at the national AgrAbility Training Conference. Twenty six states were represented at the conference. John participated in a session called un-conferencing, the topic of which was working effectively with veterans. In an un-conferencing session, a topic and facilitator is provided and participants determine what is discussed and shared during the session.

AgrAbility programs in our nation deal with farmers, farming, ag business and rural communities, and how to serve and interact with persons with disabilities who live and work in that venue.

The participants of this April 3rd session identified 4 topics the full house wanted to discuss:

  1. How do we find veterans in our state?
  2. How do we reach veterans in our state?
  3. The best methods for assisting veterans
  4. Veteran-related resources

In attempting to answer those questions, the following list has been generated. Consider using these lists in developing and implementing outreach to veterans. Additions and corrections can be sent to: richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.  [Read more…]

An Update from the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee: Data Gathered So Far on CILs Serving Veterans

In January of 2014, the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee posted an online survey to gather some basic data on serving Veterans. While we are still collecting data, here are some results thus far.

  • 11 CILs reported they track Veterans-served separate from I&Rs
  • 9 CILs reported they track Veterans, but include I&Rs in their total.
  • 3 CILs reported they serve Veterans but do not separately track Veterans-served.

Eleven CILs that track Veterans-served separate from I&Rs:

  • Served 376 Veterans in the past year
  • Have 10 Veterans on staff and 9 Veterans are Board members
  • 10 CILs reported one of the following in the counties they serve:
    • Military Base
    • VA Medical Center
    • VA Clinic
    • Regional VA Office

Nine CILs that track Veterans-served and I&Rs together:

  • Reported 539 Veterans combined served and I&Rs
  • Have 10 Veterans on staff and 8 Veterans are Board members
  • 7 CILs reported one of the following in the counties they serve:
    • Military Base
    • VA Medical Center
    • VA Clinic
    • Regional VA Office

While this is a small sampling, it shows CILs are providing services to Veterans.

As new data is submitted, the summary will be updated. CILs are providing a variety of services for Veterans based on local need, in collaboration with state and federal veteran agencies, working with local county Veteran Service Officers, VFWs, American Legions, and of course the four core IL services.

Your Help Requested: Tell NCIL About How You Serve Veterans!

An Update from the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee

In preparation for 2014, the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee undertook an evaluation of itself and its effectiveness to advance veterans’ issues as they relate to independent living and to chart a course for the year and beyond.

Invest in Vets 2008 protest signIn doing so, the Subcommittee retained some existing members and added new members. In addition, the Subcommittee has been broadened though collaboration with APRIL (the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living). NCIL is collaborating with the APRIL Board and membership to establish a joint committee on veterans’ issues, with each entity maintaining their own protocol for membership.

One of the goals of the joint committee is to educate the community about CIL services, what CILs may do for veterans, and the CIL definition of independent living services. It is important to note the VA has a cap on the number of veterans who can receive IL services through the VA program, while CILs are limited only by their own resource limits. Community groups that have been contacted include: local county veterans service offices (VSOs), American Legion groups, VFW organizations, and PVA and DAV chapters. In addition, some homeless shelters may have contact with veterans and thus a prospective contact.

Some CILs are in contact with both their federal and state legislators, especially those with direct involvement in veterans’ issues, and are making them aware of CIL services to veterans. These discussions are well received by legislators because there is increasing recognition and acknowledgement of the need for community-based services for veterans.

The joint committee members believe CILs are providing more services to veterans than is generally accounted for. Several committee members have participated in multiple NCIL and APRIL workshops on veterans’ issues to discuss and learn more about IL services being provided to veterans by CILs. In order to effectively tell our story, the APRIL / NCIL Vets Joint Committee would like to hear about the work you are doing working with and serving veterans. Note: you do not have to be doing anything with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any state / federal agency that receives state / federal dollars to serve veterans.

The NCIL Veterans Subcommittee will share these responses with the joint committee in the hope that the data can be used to ask for more core IL dollars. After all, by providing IL services to Veterans, we are building the capacity of our community and the more resources we have, the more work we can do to ensure that people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.

Help Strengthen Independent Living: Tell Your CIL’s Story about Working with Veterans

By Steve Thovson, Chair, NCIL Veterans Subcommittee

You may have heard about the Memorandum of Understanding between NCIL, APRIL, and the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service that was developed over several years and released last summer.

This MOU may open doors for Centers for Independent Living, but CILs need to make the contacts necessary to begin a dialogue with the VA. In Minnesota, there have been visits with the Fargo, ND and St. Paul, MN regional offices to discuss the MOU and what community-based services a CIL can offer. The meetings were positive and we will see what transpires.

I am a Veteran myself and as many of you know, there is a whole lot more to serving Veterans in their communities than just being involved with the VA. We must, as CILs, tell our story about working with Veterans in our communities. [Read more…]

NCIL, APRIL, and the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service Reach Historic Memorandum of Understanding

Nothing About Us Without Us 2012 signIn a cooperative effort spanning nearly two years and involving many dedicated contributors, the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), have successfully reached agreement on a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning how the member organizations might work together with VR&E counselors to provide Independent Living services that address Veterans’ needs.

Building vital relationships between Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and the VA is essential, and this document goes a long way toward opening doors to available services and opportunities that may not have been achievable in the past.

Read the MOU and supplemental documents (in PDF or as a Word document). See page 2 for specific examples of areas for possible collaboration.  [Read more…]