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Veteran program leaders meet during conference to discuss veteran needs

Veteran homelessness, food insecurity and suicide prevention were some of the issues discussed.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:19 PM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) - Leaders of programs for veterans are looking for ways to better address the needs of those who served.

75 veteran program leaders met virtually and in-person for the U.P. Veteran Community Action Team’s convention in Kingsford Wednesday. Presenters from local and state groups discussed how they can help veterans.

“We were able to secure a presentation from the Michigan Attorney General’s office to talk about the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act,” said Frank Lombard, UPCAP veteran program manager. “We also spoke about what to do if you spot signs of financial exploitation in not just veterans, but others, especially the older adult population.”

Lombard said veteran homelessness, food insecurity, and suicide prevention were also discussed. The veteran community action team was formed in 2014 and puts on several conventions a year.

“You have a lot of local professionals in their various fields coming together today that are hopefully going to be able to go back to their network and share about the different benefits they learned about today,” said Jason Zdunek, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency veterans service officer.

Groups brainstormed resolutions, like better marketing of resources.

“There are services in place and there are programs, but those programs clearly don’t go far enough and don’t provide robust service to meet everyone’s needs,” Lombard said. “We will be exploring that and try to unpack those dynamics involved.”

One solution discussed is increasing the advertising of programs and job opportunities for veterans in communities like the U.P. from the state and federal levels.

Lombard said the veteran community action team tracks feedback in a spreadsheet to identify which issues are most prevalent.

Lombard said if you or a family member are a veteran, you are encouraged to reach out to your county veteran organization to see what help you qualify for.

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