A needs assessment report on local veterans commissioned by the Heinz Endowments, and conducted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), found that southwestern Pennsylvania is home to approximately 235,000 veterans. About a fifth of these veterans are from post-9/11 conflicts with more than 5,000 moving to our state each year. Gulf War-era veterans (those whose service started in 1990) are expected to become the largest segment of the veteran population in our area.
And how are these veterans faring? Almost one-third of the veterans who took part in the study reported having some period of unemployment during the prior 12 months. Yet, only 6.5% of southwestern PA’s veterans use their GI Bill benefits according to that same study. And while giving local community services an average grade on meeting veteran needs, they report that there are significant problems with coordination between public, private and non-profit providers.
That is why the Heinz Endowments is hosting three forums in February for area veterans and military servicemen and servicewomen to share their thoughts on improving veteran services and programs in our region. It is a chance to be heard and to be part of a discussion “that will shape how this region supports military men and women for years to come.”
From the Heinz Endowments website:
The Office of Mayor Bill Peduto recently launched Homefront Pittsburgh, an effort to assist veterans with jobs, entrepreneurship and homeownership. “We owe a great debt to our veterans, and it will take a community-wide effort to provide them with the services and support they are due. I applaud The Heinz Endowments for this initiative, and look forward to hearing from these heroes on ways the Pittsburgh community can rise up to help them,” said Mayor Peduto.
If you are a vet or are currently in the service, please register and attend one of these free events:
- Thursday, Feb. 4., 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), 808 Ridge Ave., Pittsburgh, RSVP
- Monday, Feb. 8, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., CCAC Boyce Campus, 595 Beatty Rd., Monroeville, RSVP
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., CCAC West Hills Center, 1000 McKee Rd., Oakdale, RSVP