Expanding community networks close gaps in veteran services

Capital News Service
LANSING — If a disabled veteran in Eaton County is unable to shovel snow this winter, a new network of local veterans service providers can find a solution in a matter of hours. The Veterans Community Action Team programs (VCATs) improve communication among veteran service providers and combine resources to give veterans more complete aid, said Elena Bridges, veterans services community coordinator for the West Michigan Veterans Coalition. These action teams are expanding to cover all regions of Michigan. Many veteran aid organizations have existed for decades, but these groups never fully collaborated until action teams were introduced, said Troy Schielein, director of Wayne County Veteran Services and a Marine Corps veteran. When a veteran needs help, it often takes multiple forms of aid, including financial, legal and health services, to find a solution.