Minnesota veteran council addresses concerns
March 28, 2012
FORT SNELLING Minn. - The United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota including veteran organizations and government officials, discussed issues currently affecting veterans and how they are being addressed at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System on March 7.
It provides us the opportunity to collaborate on joint values, said Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, the Commanding General of the 88th Regional Support Command.
The main points addressed during the briefing were providing veterans with jobs and housing.
Air Force Lt. Col. Sandy L. Best, the Director of Government Relations for the Department of Military Affairs, spoke about the Employment Resource Team who conducted Employment Skills Readiness Training to deployed troops to prepare them for jobs when they return home.
Barb S. O'Reilly, the Director of Women Veterans and Employment Initiatives for the Minnesota VA, described how troops and veteran friendly employers can use websites like www.positivelyminnesota.com/veterans to reach each other and conduct virtual interviews.
A phone or Skype interview can lead to a hire, conditional upon a second interview when they return home, said O'Reilly.
The financial adjustment veterans must make when they return home leave some unable to afford their houses even with new civilian jobs. Connie Haddeland, who stood in for Rep. Betty McCollum, discussed how the plans for housing appropriations and the Service Member Civil Rights Act may help veterans avoid foreclosure and homelessness.
For veterans suffering from homelessness, Kathy Vitalis, with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, announced the progress for developing a 24 month transitional home up to code for women veterans with children to live in while they get on their feet.
The information shared at these meeting helps keep government representatives and organization policy makers aware of the needs of veterans in Minnesota and how to address those needs.
"Everybody in that room is focused on how to make [Minnesota] a state that is veteran friendly," said Best.