Amid the height of the pandemic, Western New York had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 outside the New York City metropolitan area, with 17% of the population testing positive. For vulnerable veterans living in the region, struggling to transition from military to civilian life, the ongoing public health crisis made it that much harder to cope and find assistance.
To improve the well-being of all veterans, service members, and families living in the Buffalo region, Veterans One-Stop Center (VOC) expanded its Case Management Program with the support of an $80,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
VOC’s Case Management Program, focused on servicing low-income veterans and families most in need of critical services, provided over 13,000 veterans with one-on-one support to connect with appropriate on-site services and navigate complex systems and paperwork.
Case managers provide access to essential supportive services that are integral to the transition from military to civilian life, including assisting with requesting discharge papers and helping veterans with financial counseling, gaining employment, attaining stable housing, and improving their overall quality of life.
Since the height of the pandemic, VOC has increased staff capacity by 15% and helped an additional 450 veterans, increasing VOC’s capacity to 1,200 veterans per year. VOC’s Case Management Program—enabling more veterans to get the support they need to transition back into civilian life—has proven to be critical in helping Buffalo get back on its feet and transition to the new normal.
New York’s veterans and their families face unique daily challenges, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the need for more care and support. The personalized, wrap-around support that VOC provides for veterans in Western New York is a key example of how to care for New York’s most vulnerable communities.