An update on the Southern Arizona Military Veterans Initiative

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On December 5th, more than 150 people attended the first community meeting, which  gathered together military service and employment communities to begin to map out the pathways for service personnel and veterans in our community.

Active duty and military veterans are an integral part of Southern Arizona population in the six southern counties (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yuma).

Consider the following:

  • There are approximately 166,300 veterans of all areas, which is 9.4% of the population.
  • There are four active duty installations as well as National Guard and reserve component facilities.
  • There are 16,600 active duty service members and 21,000 official dependents (spouses and minor children).
  • There are 3100 National Guard members and their families living throughout southern Arizona.
  • 17,600 service members have deployed from southern Arizona since 9/11.

There is currently no organization in southern Arizona that coordinates the active duty and veteran community to the employment and service community throughout the region. As a result active duty personnel do not know about opportunities in the local market and often to not receive the coordinated service they need to lead productive lives. The results of this gap can be seen in the recent analysis by the Department of Defense of the best places for military in the country.

The vision of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families is every service member, veteran and family member connect to the right resource at the right time. To achieve this vision, The Military/Veteran Community Network takes a holistic approach to building and strengthening the continuum of care to meet the myriad needs of service members, veterans and their families. By focusing on no wrong door and no wrong person, as well as the right resource at the right time, ACMF connects community resources so that these individuals and families can contribute their strengths , experience and resilience to our communities and workplaces.

Key stakeholders from the Tucson community and the Arizona Coalition for Military Families will work collaboratively to implement a community capacity-building initiative in the southern region. This effort will build upon the nationally-recognized statewide model developed by the Coalition’s public and private sector partners, localizing the effort to one region in the state. To effectively implement the vision of the right resource at the right time in the southern Arizona region and at the local community level, this initiative will focus on the following objectives:

  • Build the capacity of individuals and organizations in Southern Arizona to respond to service members, veterans and family members in need, with a focus of no wrong door and no wrong person.
  • Increase cross-sector collaboration between the military, government and community in the Southern Arizona region.
  • Focus on key issue areas and sectors such as employment, higher education, behavioral health, the faith-based community, legal, first responders, etc.
  • Promote best practices and the sustainability of effective efforts to serve the military and veteran community.
  • Connect the local and regional efforts of this initiative with Arizona’s nationally-recognized statewide models for capacity-building in support of the military and veteran population.

Please stay tuned for continued updates. If you have questions in the meantime, please email philanthropy@cfsaz.org or call (520)770-0800.