NCServes Puts North Carolina In The Lead For Veteran Support Across U.S.
While the military sets you up for success with a plethora of benefits, services and resources to address each individual’s needs, there are times when veterans, active duty service members and their families may encounter unique situations and are sometimes faced with navigating through an overwhelming amount of information and hundreds of resources; many of which have specific eligibility criteria. So where do you go to? Who do you call?
Thanks to NCServes, veterans and their families can have streamlined access to thousands of resources. The program cuts through the tedious process or weeding through prerequisites and hundreds of service providers, connecting veterans and their families directly with agencies or benefits specific to their needs and eligibility.
“The challenge for active duty and former Marines and Sailors continues to be navigating that sea of goodwill,” said Ilario Pantano, senior director of community service at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. “NCServes offers an easy to use, friendly and accountable solution that has partnered with great nonprofit partners across the state in order to ensure that a veteran, service member or family member is getting the very best care available in a timely way, whatever that need might be.”
Pantano attributes the rapid growth of NCServes to its streamlined accessibility to the 45,000 nonprofits and government agencies that have been developed to help.
“We have 15 categories of services that we can help with: benefits, clothing and household goods, education, employment, food, health, housing and shelter, individual and family support, legal, medical health, mental and behavioral health, money management, social enrichment, spiritual enrichment, sports and recreation, transportation, utilities and wellness.”
“We promote NCServes, because it works. You can call and within 48 hours you will get linked with an agency to work toward the specific reason why you called, you don’t get the round around. They send you straight to the right place,” said Reggie Roy, Disabled Veteran Outreach specialist with the North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions. “If a vet submits a referral and they need help for employment, we get the referral (at NC Works) and we contact the individual. The individual might need medical, shelter, child care … might need help with finances,” said Roy. “We have to update NCServes on what is going on.”
According to Pantano, 570 veterans and 40 active duty Marines have used the NCServes network in the past year.
Among those who have benefited from using NCServes is Eugene Evans, a Camp Lejeune Marine veteran, who experienced difficulty finding a program that could provide assistance due to eligibility criteria.
According to Jerrick Vernon, NCServes Coastal program coordinator, a costly repair to Evans’ air unit depleted Evans’ funds resulting in his utility service being disconnected. Thanks to NCServes, Evans was referred to an out-of-network partner which helped cover the cost for his utilities to get turned back on.
“As a former Marine who served at Camp Lejeune … my goal is to continue to help my fellow Marines and all servicemen and women by improving the quality, accuracy and speed of services that they seek,” said Pantano.
NCServes is part of America Serves initiative, a network implemented by the Institute for Veteran and Military Families at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York to maintain a coordinated network of service providers to direct participants to the appropriate services and resources.
“NCServes is a network of four regional coordination Centers helping folks from Asheville, to Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville and here on the Coast. Our goal is to improve both our performance as a network, and the performance of our more than 250 partners across the state, in how services and care are delivered to our communities,” said Pantano. “And for those who may leave North Carolina, we hope that our national expansion will also give service members options as they move on to their next duty stations or return to their homes.”
For more information about NCServes, visit NCserves.org or call 884-435-1838.