Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is utilizing the My LA2050 grant to expand the groundbreaking Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), the premier veterans-support program in America, to Los Angeles.
As the first and largest veterans empowerment organization with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership, IAVA has redefined case management and created a new standard for high-tech, high-touch support that is serving thousands of veterans and their families while showing countless community-support organizations a new way to serve their clients with life-saving programs at scale.
IAVA's unique support model has veterans working with social workers online or via phone to address a wide variety of transition related needs, from housing, to financial, legal, health and everything in between. By simply calling the RRRP toll free number or reaching out online, a veteran is connected with a Veteran Transition Manager (VTM), who does a complete and thorough assessment of all of the veteran's needs and makes personalized referrals to local and national service providers. No appointment is necessary and there are no awkward waiting rooms, and a case isn't closed until the veteran decides that the needed resources have been obtained or that assistance is no longer needed.
With the RRRP team focusing on the critical work of connecting veterans with needed services, IAVA also pursues a broader, more comprehensive strategy for veteran support that includes prevention and early intervention. Veterans who take advantage of IAVA's support are invited to continue their involvement as Member Ambassadors to help promote the program to other veterans. With the support of the Field Team as well as these Ambassadors, IAVA is able to reach veterans where they live and work. Through regular community social events and outreach (called VetTogethers), veterans are connected with each other to help build a sense of community and camaraderie and share resources. Often, it is fellow veterans who provide the push needed, removing the stigma many veterans feel about seeking help.
Through these efforts, hundreds of veterans and supporters received information about RRRP and, thus far, 45 have been taken on as clients with 24 referrals made to support programs. Currently, five veterans are in the process of being trained to serve as local Ambassadors. Additionally, IAVA has developed key partnerships with five local service providers – nearly to the goal of six - and has held four Ambassador outreach events.
Moving forward RRRP now has a California-based VTM who, in addition to serving California RRRP clients, will be developing and strengthening partnerships in the California veterans' community and conducting regular outreach events to inform veterans and supporters about IAVA and RRRP. Additionally, an LA-wide member survey is under development to help identify new potential Ambassadors who can be trained online with the support of other peer mentors.
To learn more about the RRRP program and see IAVA's work in action check out this incredible piece from Yahoo News.