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Beyond Veterans Day: Information and resources for veterans and their families all year long

Posted on November 12, 2020 at 6:00 am

By Crystal Miller

Yesterday was Veterans Day, a federal holiday to honor and pay our respects to all the people who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Veterans Day is always on November 11 and was originally called Armistice Day to honor the end of major conflicts in World War I, which happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In 1954, Congress amended the bill to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day and honor all veterans who have served in our country’s armed forces.

There were an estimated 43,351 veterans living in Spokane County in 2014–2018 as shown at census.gov. In the Census publication “Those Who Served: America’s Veterans from World War II to the War on Terror,” there are 18 million veterans in the U.S., roughly 7% of the population. Some highlights from the report include:

  • Fewer than 500,000 World War II veterans are alive today, down from 5.7 million in 2000.
  • Women make up a growing share of veterans. Today, about 9 percent of veterans—or 1.7 million—are women. By 2040, that number is projected to rise to 17 percent.
  • The largest cohort of veterans—6.4 million—who are alive today served during the Vietnam era, which lasted from 1964 to 1975. The second largest cohort of veterans, at 4 million, served only during peacetime.
  • The median age of veterans today is 65 years. By service period, post-9/11 veterans are the youngest with a median age of about 37, Vietnam-era veterans have a median age of about 71, and World War II veterans have a median age of about 93.
Century of Serving: U.S. Armed Forces since 1915, graph
Rise in Female Veterans, graph

During their service, the veteran population faces unique challenges. Some of these challenges can be a detriment to their physical and mental health and stay with them long after their service has ended. Below is data on the challenges veterans face and also some resources specifically for veterans.

MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran affairs, “suicide is a national public health problem that disproportionately affects those who served our Nation.”

 
  • From 2005 to 2017, suicides among U.S. veterans increased by 6.1 percent.
  • In 2017, the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate of non-veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex.
RESOURCES

Veterans Affairs Mental Health web page

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 800.273.8255

Veterans Crisis Line

Qualified responders offer confidential help. Many of them are veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.

Call 800.273.8255, then press 1.

Start a confidential chat on the website.

Text 838255.

If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800.799.4889.

National Center for PTSD website

Veteran Training website

This online training from Veterans Affairs is designed to provide easy access to training courses that can help you to learn new skills to manage stress and improve problem solving. These courses are open to all veterans, not just to VA patients. You don’t need to register or provide any identifying information to take the courses.

VetChange 

VetChange is an app and online program for veterans and service members who are concerned about their drinking and how it relates to post-traumatic stress after deployment. It is also anyone who is interested in developing healthier drinking behaviors.

IN AN EMERGENCY

Call 911.

Go to the nearest emergency room.

Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn’t matter what your discharge status is or if you’re enrolled in VA health care.

Spokane-area VA medical center location:
Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center
4815 N Assembly St
Spokane, WA 99205
509.434.7000
800.325.7940

VETERAN HOMELESSNESS

According to the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, in 2019 there were 37,085 veterans experiencing homelessness nationwide. The PIT Count is an annual effort led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to estimate the number of Americans, including veterans, who are without safe, stable housing.

From the January 2019 PIT Count

  • In 2019, there was a 2.1 percent decrease in the estimated number of homeless veterans nationwide.
  • In January 2019, 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness, compared to 37,878 in January 2018.
  • This year to date, more than 11,000 veterans have found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program.
  • The estimated number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has declined by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

For Washington state, the January 2019 PIT Count report of Persons Experiencing Homelessness in Spokane was 1,309 people (1,070 households) on the night of the count, with a total of 85 veterans identified during the count. This represents an 11.5% decrease from the 2018 PIT Count.

RESOURCES

Washington State Homeless Reintegration Program

This program has shown success in helping homeless veterans with food, clothing, transportation, and access to shelter, along with job readiness training and finding permanent housing. The program offers a structured, individually designed case management plan to assist veterans in becoming employed and secure. You can call the Spokane office at 509.477.4436.

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans

Call 1.877.4.AID.VET (877.424.3838)

Online chat for homeless veterans

This call center provides a hotline and online chat for free, confidential assistance. Trained VA staff are on-call and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist homeless veterans and their families.

VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES

A report release by the U.S. Census Bureau in June 2020 shared the following information.

 
  • Post-9/11 veterans had a 43% chance of having a service-connected disability, after accounting for differences in demographic and social characteristics among veterans —significantly higher than that of veterans from other periods.
  • Among veterans who had a service-connected disability, Post-9/11 veterans had a 39% chance of having a disability rating of 70% or more — significantly higher than for veterans from other periods.
RESOURCES

Disabled American Veterans Charity

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans each year.

Spokane Disabled American Veterans Chapter
212 S David St
Spokane, WA 99212
509.535.9100

UNEMPLOYMENT & VETERANS

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in September 2020, the veteran unemployment rate was 6.8%, up from 6.6% the previous month. The comparable non-veteran unemployment rate was 7.8% in September.

Below is a list of local resources for Veterans found in the City of Spokane article “Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Declines.”

Spokane Community Resources for Veterans

  • Homeless Families Coordinated Entry – Address: 19 W Pacific Ave; Phone: 509.325.5005
  • Singles Homeless Coordinated Assessment – Address: 212 S Wall St; Phone: 509.456.7627 (choose option 1)
  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families – Address: 130 E 3rd Ave; Phone: 509.828.2449; Website: http://discovergoodwill.org/veterans/
  • Spokane County Veteran Services – Website: https://www.spokanecounty.org/1122/Veteran-Services
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Website: http://www.va.gov/
  • Health Care for Homeless Vets – Address: 705 W 2nd Ave; Phone: 509.462.2500
  • Veterans Administration – Phone: 1.800.827.1000
  • Spokane Vets Center – Address: 13109 E Mirabeau Parkway; Phone: 509.444.8387
  • Veterans Emergency Services – Address: 1102 W College Ave; Phone: 509.477.3690
  • Spokane Veterans Forum – Website: https://spokaneveteransforum.org/
  • Health Care for Homeless Veterans – Phone: 509-462-2600
  • Vets Garage – Address: 224 E Pacific Ave; Phone: 509.919.3176; Website: https://www.vetsgaragespokane.com/
  • Combat Vet Riders Outreach Center – Address: 2405 N Dick Rd; Phone: 509.570.3239; Website: https://combatvetriders.org/
  • Volunteers of America, Spokane Veterans Housing – Website: https://www.voaspokane.org/veterans-housing

DIGITAL RESOURCES FROM THE LIBRARY

JobNow

Get live online help from job coaches at JobNow, every day from 2pm to 10pm, for assistance with resumes, cover letters, and interview techniques.

JobNow also has tools and support to help you write resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and conduct career research. For expert and detailed help with your resume, you can submit yours to the Resume Lab and a resume expert will analyze it and send you feedback within one business day.

If you need a resume and are struggling to get started, then look no further than the award-winning Optimal Resume software to help guide you in drafting a stand-out resume.

JobNow has resources to help you prepare for interviews, career assessment tools to help you discover your options, and adult learning tools when you’re looking to continue your education to meet career goals.

Testing & Education Reference Center

You have access to eBooks and practice tests for college preparation and entrance exams, licensing certification tests, and other certification testing at Testing & Education Reference Center.

This digital resource provides tutorials for math, English, writing, and Microsoft software, along with resume templates that can help you prepare for a successful career.

You can study to get a high school equivalent diploma, apply for college or graduate school, take career related exams, and become a U.S. citizen with the resources found in the Testing & Education Reference Center.

You’ll find dozens of resources in our Digital Library, providing information, training, and services for a wide variety of interests and topics.

To all the veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we thank you for your service. If you or someone you know needs help finding resources for a veteran, please reach out to the library and use our Book-a-Librarian service for one-on-one help. We can help you find resources and contact information to the appropriate agencies.

Librarian Crystal Miller

Crystal Miller is a Business and Career Development Librarian and has been working in libraries for 15 years. She has a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and has worked at the Harvard Development Office Library, MIT Libraries, and the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. When she’s not at the library, she can be found at the dog park with her three fur babies or with a cookbook in hand, flipping through the pages, looking for the next recipe to try out.

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