Community Matters: Veteran Services

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Main News Photo

The Greater Irvine Chamber connects you with nonprofit organizations that address issues facing the community and opportunities for you to make a difference. This month we focus on veteran services.

According to the California Department of Veterans Affairs, Orange County is home to nearly 200,000 veterans. These men and women include, but are not limited to, veterans from World War II and Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Somalia, and all those from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The Orange County United WayUnited to End Homelessness program plays a large role in a collaborative effort to provide housing and services for veterans experiencing homelessness in Orange County. OC United Way’s 2019 Point in Time count identified that a little more than 300 veterans are experiencing homelessness in Orange County, and out of that population 68% were unsheltered, while about 32% were in either an emergency or transitional shelter. Supportive housing units for 124 veterans are under construction in Placentia and Santa Ana. Through its WelcomeHomeOC program, OC United Way provides housing to homeless veterans through privately-owned apartments in partnership with participating landlords.

A large part of reentry into civilian life is stable employment. Orange County nonprofit organizations offer a range of services to help veterans prepare for jobs. Working Wardrobes through its VetNet program in 2018 provided employment services to nearly 600 veterans, with 93% of those becoming successfully employed.

When people think of underrepresented groups in academia, veterans generally aren’t the first to come to mind, however, they are a minority group in the student population. There are 167 student veterans attending University of California, Irvine (UCI); 13 of those are law students, 25 are MBA program students, and 20 are female veterans. Beginning January 2020, UCI’s School of Social Sciences will offer the first of three courses in a new certificate program focusing on veterans and their multiple roles in U.S. history and society.

Each year in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas U. Wall, a former chairman of the Irvine Valley College (IVC) Foundation and the Chamber, scholarships are provided to applicants who are either U.S. military veterans, or children or grandchildren of a U.S. military veteran, and are pursuing a career path in science, business, or law enforcement at IVC. Contact Whit Peterson for more information about this scholarship.

Here are some of the organizations focused on supporting veterans in Orange County:

The City of Irvine and the Orange County United Way offer these respective volunteer engagement programs:

Category: Community Matters