Everyone is Welcome
At Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America “Everyone is Welcome” is one of our guiding principles. We know that the veterans movement is for every veteran. And our diversity is a strength. We are a community that welcomes everyone, of every background, time period and discharge status. And the veterans movement is not for veterans alone. Our success is America’s success. We believe everyone can do something to help.
IAVA is the leading veterans empowerment organization for this era veterans and we represent nearly 425,000 veterans, family members and supporters, providing advocacy and assistance for veterans across the country. IAVA’s advocacy team works everyday in Washington, DC implementing policy changes that impact our community through our Big 6 Policy Agenda. IAVA’s policy agenda is inclusive to all that have served and ensures that as an organization we are effectively representing and meeting the needs of our community.
One of IAVA’s Big 6 Policy Agenda items is the campaign to recognize and improve services for women veterans. Over 345,000 women have deployed in support of these current wars and while the number of male veterans is expected to decline in the coming years, the women veteran population will increase, and women have taken on new roles and responsibilities throughout the services. Not only do women veterans encounter barriers to care and benefits, they do so in a culture that often does not accept them or fully recognize them as veterans. IAVA advocates daily to ensure improved access to care and benefits while changing the underlying culture to one that is inclusive of women. To learn about the rest of IAVA’s Big 6 Policy Agenda, click here.
IAVA’s premier case management program, the Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), which provides guidance, support and linkages to effective on the ground resources and support for veterans and their families, receives inquiries from veterans everyday in need of help. RRRP’s Veteran Transition Managers (VTMs) are on the front lines everyday ensuring that clients have access to necessary resources. RRRP has served nearly 9,000 clients since the program began in 2012.
At RRRP, everyone is welcome. We work with family members and we work with veterans from all eras, locations and with all types of discharges. It doesn’t matter where you served, when you served, how long you served or what type of discharge you received. If you signed up to fight for this country, we are here and will fight for you to ensure you have access to the resources that you need, have earned and deserve.
Often times, a veteran’s discharge status impacts their ability to access care. RRRP has served nearly 500 veterans who received a General, Other than Honorable, Dishonorable or Bad Conduct discharge. These discharges happen for a variety of reasons and are sometimes a direct result of combat related physical or mental health injuries. This often prevent veterans, some of whom need care the very most, from accessing benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When a veteran isn’t able to access care through the VA, sometimes a cascading negative impact happens for the entire family which can result in lack of stability, job loss, homelessness and financial or mental health crisis. At IAVA, everyone is welcome and our Rapid Response Referral Program is standing by to assist all veterans that have served our country and are in need of help. Reach out to us today.
By: Hannah Sinoway, M.S.Ed