The US government promises support to its veterans, but the number of veterans to support sometimes outstrips their capacity to help. Arizona alone, for example, is home to over half a million veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, ranking 13th in terms of veteran population. Solving the challenges that Arizona veterans face is going to take a while. But for now, the state veteran community at large has been hard at work trying to bring them the privileges they deserve. In conjunction with programs laid out by the VA, they hope to one day make civilian life for veterans in AZ as fair and comfortable as possible.
Housing and Living Standards
Veteran homelessness is a prevailing issue among countries that have a large veteran population. Arizona has 802 homeless veterans according to the last census, with an unknown number at-risk. The Arizona veteran community has several measures in place to counter this issue. One of these is Valor on Eighth, an apartment community in Tempe, Arizona. A project of Gorman & Co, these affordable living arrangements are full of luxury amenities, such as a gym, a rec room, a clubhouse, and a children’s playground. There are also onsite support services for veterans in need of special care.
For veterans looking to move to a new home, the Phoenix Regional Loan Center is one of the VA’s major administrators of VA Home Loans. Arizona also has two state veteran’s homes, in Tucson and Phoenix. These places offer affordable rehabilitation and nursing care for veterans in need. A VA healthcare plan can also serve as a gateway to affordable housing, thanks to the HUD-VASH program.
Employment and Financial Independence
Veteran financial independence is another thing that the Arizona veteran community is currently tackling. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ last count found that only a little over 41 percent of Arizona veterans were part of the civilian labor force. Many supporters of the AZ veteran community are working to fix this by offering free education, such as the Mesa Veterans Resource Center and Arizona State U. The Mesa Veterans Resource Center also assists veterans with things like resume building and applications.
In terms of entrepreneurship, veteran-owned businesses across the United States have been on a downward trend since the early 2010s. But this has been changing recently out of necessity, as more and more veterans try to secure more financial stability for themselves. To support them, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services offers courses that help build veterans’ business administration skill-set, building off of the invaluable skills they picked up from the military. Another powerful thing aspiring veteran entrepreneurs have at their disposal are VA loans. These loans are by far the easiest way for them to get their business up and running, as they have minimal interest rates, fast approval, and the lenders give veterans every consideration possible.
Financial Hardship Assistance
Financial hardship among military families is, unfortunately, more common than anyone would have preferred. Military.com reports that over a third of all veterans’ families struggle to pay the bills every month. Previously, only the families of currently deployed service members were permitted to draw from the Arizona Military Family Relief Fund. But thanks to a new bill signed by Gov. Ducey, this has been extended to all veterans who were deployed post-9/11, whose families’ finances were impacted negatively due to their absence. Alternatively, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation was established specifically to support the caregiving family members of veterans injured in combat or who had fallen ill. Vehicle taxes can also be waived for veterans who were disabled in the line of duty.
In the United States, and even in other countries, governments have encountered many difficulties in rewarding veterans for their selfless service. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of the veteran community, this doesn’t have to be an issue anymore.