United Way of Broward County and the American Red Cross are joining forces to help reacclimate returning veterans to their families and community in Broward County. The new program, called Mission United, will officially launch Wednesday, Jan. 30, at a breakfast at Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.
“Here in Broward County we don’t have a military base, so our services for veterans are somewhat scattered,” says Kathleen Cannon, president and CEO of United Way of Broward County. “We have many organizations that are stepping up in a grand way to help our veterans, and we need a streamlined method to let them know about all those services. That’s why we started Mission United.”
Returning vets often have difficulty adjusting to life after being in combat, Cannon says. They may return to mounting debt or find their homes in foreclosure. Many also face unemployment.
Mission United is more than just a referral service. “We’re actually going to walk you through the system to make sure you know who to talk to and how to talk to them,” Cannon says.
To better help veterans re-acclimate themselves into the local community, Mission United will offer the following services:
Employment assistance, including job fairs, networking, readiness skills, job training and resume writing.
Financial assistance, to help with housing and emergency situations.
Legal services, to eliminate the barriers veterans face in finding jobs and housing.
Health services, including mental health services.
Cannon hopes to involve the local community in the Mission United initiative, and she’s seeking volunteers, businesses willing to provide in-kind services and hire veterans as well as financial support for the new program.
“Folks that serve in the armed forces do that to keep us safe, but when they return home, they don’t come back to the same life they left,” Cannon says. “We feel that’s a travesty. That’s why the United Way, the Red Cross and the entire community are coming together to make sure that all of our veterans are being served admirably the way they served us by joining the armed forces.”
—Robyn A. Friedman
For more information about Mission United, call 954-4-UNITED or visit www.MissionUnited.org.