Web correspondent Jenny Wilson reports:
Gov. Dan Malloy hosted a press conference Friday to announce the creation of a Governor’s Veterans Cabinet and the launch of a new website that serves as a one-stop shop for veterans seeking state resources. This site allows veterans in need of any number of services—education, job support, mental health services, or housing assistance to name a few—to find the opportunities their government provides. At the announcement at Tunxis Community College’s Veterans’ Oasis Center in Farmington, Gov. Malloy said the purpose of this initiative was, “to make it as easy as possible…to go and understand that which is available for veterans.”
Whether veterans are struggling with homelessness, unemployment, or depression, the state wants to ensure it sufficiently communicates benefits offered to those in need. Current forms of state assistance include employer incentives to hire veterans, the recently expanded military support program that provides free counseling to veterans, and jail diversion services that offer veterans in the criminal justice system a route to treatment rather than incarceration. Rising rates of suicide, unemployment and homelessness among veterans are cause for concern, and state efforts to address those and other problems are futile if information on the programs is not well-publicized, accessible, and available.
The 14-member Cabinet, led by Malloy and Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman and charged with coordinating veteran services, consists various state officials who together will work to provide for Connecticut’s 7000 veterans projected to return in the next two years as well as the 270,000 already residing in the state. The cabinet includes representatives from the National Guard, Department of Labor, Department of Revenue Services, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, among others. Its full list of members may be viewed here.