SEATTLE — The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and the Schultz Family Foundation announced March 2 the launch of WAServes, a unique network of veteran service organizations that makes it easier for Joint Base Lewis-McChord active-duty service members, veterans and their family members to find services they need.
At the heart of the WAServes network is a coordination center accessed via the web or by calling a toll-free phone number. The program launches with more than 50 service providers and will initially serve King, Snohomish, Island, Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties.
With more than 40,000 veteran organizations in the country offering medical, financial, employment, housing and other services, finding and accessing services has become the number one self-reported issue for veterans and their families, according to a recent Blue Star Families survey. IVMF’s AmericaServes’ networks solve this problem by bringing together a wide-range of vetted service providers.
Veterans and their families work through the local WAServes coordination center to identify what they need, and the center, run by WestCare Washington, matches them with service providers. Using HIPPA-compliant technology, each case is monitored to ensure people’s needs are met.
“Many transitioning service members and veterans have more than one need so it can be extremely challenging for them to research hundreds of organizations to find the right services,” said Dr. Mike Haynie, IVMF executive director and Syracuse University vice chancellor. “WAServes solves this problem by bringing all of the great service organizations together in one place to make sure people can get the help they need.”
WAServes is the eighth network to launch in IVMF’s national AmericaServes portfolio. The Schultz Family Foundation, founded by Sheri Schultz and her husband, Howard Schultz, supported the launch of the first “Serves” network in New York City in January 2015 and is happy to bring the program to their home state of Washington.
“Military and veteran families give so much to the country and the Schultz Family Foundation is dedicated to helping them during their transition back into civilian life,” said Howard Schultz, co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “There are over 500,000 veterans in Washington state so we are proud to bring WAServes to the Puget Sound area. It shows how powerful the community can be when we come together and offer coordinated care to these incredible men and women and their families.”
Individuals looking for services can engage with the WAServes network in three ways:
• by calling 1-877-515-7848 to speak with a qualified professional;
• visit WAServes website at WAServes.org;
• going to any of the participating providers who can register people in the system and make referrals if needed.