Veterans Count, the philanthropic arm of Easterseals Military & Veterans Services, provides critical and timely financial assistance and services when no other resource is available to service members, veterans and their families, to ensure their dignity, health and overall well-being.
It Began with this Question: “How Can We Help Service Members and Their Families?”
Veterans Count was developed in 2007 as a result of Easterseals’ Board Member Mike Salter’s desire to bring comprehensive, emergency aid to active military and their families whose quality of life was significantly impacted by deployment to war zones.
At the time, Easterseals approached the NH Joint Force Headquarters and the NH Department of Health and Human Services for assistance in designing what their vision was: a compassionate, responsive, highly-targeted care program for service members and their families who were “falling through the cracks,” as a result of service to their country.
Easterseals developed a Care Coordination model centered on highly-skilled clinicians meeting one-on-one with service members and their families to address critical issues while building trust and working toward developing long-term self-sufficiency. Care Coordinators met the immediate presenting needs such as food, shelter, transportation and mental health intervention. Once a trusting relationship was stablished, Care Coordinators were then able to address deeper issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sustainable employment, and long-term housing.
Due to the success of the program, and changes in government funding, in 2012, Military & Veterans Services (MVS) expanded services to include both pre-911 and post-911 service members, veterans and their families. Critical to the services provided by Care Coordinators were the philanthropic funds which directly address emergency needs while providing a conduit for Care Coordinators to assist service members and veterans with more chronic and entrenched challenges.
As MVS began to execute its mission, it became clear that more community assistance/fundraising was needed to provide adequate support. Federal and state grants provided for the training and services of Care Coordinators. Yet the need for additional funding for basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, etc. was apparent. A task force comprised of business leaders was developed and Veterans Count was formed.
Veterans Count and Easterseals have received the highest praise and support from our national and local elected officials and are viewed as a comprehensive and successful model to emulate throughout the country. As the landscape of our military and post deployment culture continues to shift, so too will Veterans Count and MVS, in order to continue providing the resources and services needed to provide a hand up to those in need.