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The MyVA Cascadia Board held its first town hall meeting in Portland at the Montavilla Baptist Church on February 25, 2016. Discussion was robust and the board will begin analyzing comments for action at its March 6, 2016 board meeting.

The following is a list of issues discussed by those in attendance:

Responses from MyVA Cascadia Town Hall Participants

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Themes

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Counseling/ Social support (8 comments)

Nutrition counseling

Marriage counseling/Family Counseling (like military chaplain services)

Access to “military informed” counseling services

Financial Coaching and counseling

Financial planning

Family counseling and mental health resources when Veterans are in crisis

Support groups for families

Support groups for caregivers

Mental Health (8 comments)

Long-term mental health services

Case management services for chronic mental health issues

Services to address life change events that cause crises

Families with children with mental health challenges

Suicide prevention

PTSD Veterans need another Vet help with application process

Wrap around services when Veterans are in crisis

No cost family support services for mental health concerns

Employment (7 comments)

Need more employers hiring Veterans /jobs needed(3)

Financial help needed while Veterans are trying to locate employment

Recognize companies that hire Vets and support the National Guard employment Effort

Jobs needed for students during school breaks

Family wage jobs

Special populations

OEF/OIF Veterans

  • Community action and lobbying needed
  • More youngerVeterans involvement needed

Women

  • Women Veterans need gender specific services
  • Difficult to identify women Veterans

Family

  • Spouses with PTSD need to have access to services
  • Families transitioning from active duty lose health care
  • Assistance for families of incarcerated Veterans
  • Marriage counseling/Family Counseling (like military chaplain services)
  • Family counseling and mental health resources when Veterans are in crisis
  • Support groups for families

Widows

  • How do we reach out to widow who are surviving on widow’s pension benefits

Financial (5 comments)

Financial help needed while Veterans are trying to locate employment

Difficulty paying rent, food, electricity, utility bills

Finances in general

Financial coaching and counseling

Eligibility for HUD VASH should be based on net income

Needed resources/services/opportunities (13 comments)

Food insecurity, food boxes and food stamps eligibility (2)

Clothing needs

Vet care for service animals

Complementary and Alternative Health therapies

Dental Care

Place to volunteer in our neighborhood

Babysitting services

Recreation opportunities

Military families gathering with other military families

A weekly meeting for Veterans to get together and visit

Place to exercise (2)

Culture/community perception (2 comments)

Negative image of Veterans

After solving a crisis, there needs to be a focus on the underlying issues

Transportation (7 comments)

Transportation in general (2)

Emergency transportation

Inefficiency and limited transportation options to appointments

Transportation –rides to Salem CBOC

Need buddies to accompany Veterans to medical appointments including transport

Need bikes for Veterans in VA alcohol treatment program.

Coordination (4 comments)

Community partner coordination/ remove duplicate organizations

VA, OHP, and Medicare services are confusing-need coordination

Coordination with the VA and community partners for dental

Resource Coordination needed- partner with 211

VA services (11 comments)

VA does not point of contacts for community and private resources

VA doesn’t communicate available resources – need website, promotion, pamphlet

VA call time is a barrier to accessing resources

VA mental health services – need to avoid triggers for people accessing MH services

VA doesn’t have clear lists of the services it provides or the services in the community

VA needs to communicate the availability of dental services

Benefit outreach – rural

Need better communication of relationship between VHA and VBA, i.e. enrollment

Coordinating Veterans services when Veterans move- streamlined process needed

On-site child care at the VA to support women Veterans

Choice program communication between VA, Triwest, and Vets

Don’t understand VA repayment process

Housing (7 comments)

HUDVASH and VSTS income threshold is too low

Affordable housing needed (2)

Veterans at risk of being homeless

30 bed facility available but no per diem grants

Gender specific housing needed for women Veterans

Homeless Veterans West Santiam Canyon

Legal Services (3 comments)

Legal services for civil matters (3)

As the board begins wrestle with these and other issues it will reach back out to the community for help with problem-solving and implementation. The board also will hold future town halls through the entire Portland VA Health Care System catchment area.