Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday applauded the efforts of the University of Southern California and Los Angeles to help veterans and military families, but said more remains to be done.
Dempsey pointed to the Los Angles Veterans Collaborative, a group of more than 300 organizations that have created a network referral system to link veterans with services, benefits and opportunities. The group, which is administered by the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, meets regularly to resolve issues affecting veterans and military families.
“There’s a huge number of these young men and women who really don’t need a handout — they just need a handshake,” he said.
Dempsey encouraged the school to share its best practices with other communities, but noted that a model that works in one place may not succeed in another, reported Stars and Stripes.
“The best things I see generally happen from the bottom up,” Dempsey said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti highlighted the progress the city has made to support veterans. About 3,000 veterans have obtained jobs since the city launched its “10,000 Strong” initiative last June. Los Angeles also has reduced its number of homeless veterans. Since officials counted 6,500 homeless veterans during its last count, they have housed 3,500, Garcetti said.
They need to be welcomed back into civilian life “with a job, with an education, with housing, with the things that they need to continue on with their lives,” he said.