The City of Atlanta’s Commission on Veterans Affairs will host a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 5 p.m., at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, S.W., Room 1, Atlanta.
The commission plans to host meetings at least once a month. Meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcomed.
The Veterans Affairs Commission provides policy and legislative guidance to the Atlanta City Council regarding the many crucial issues affecting veterans such as: elderly services, disabled services, homelessness, affordable housing, healthcare, job training, business development, spousal assistance, and the need for a community liaison commission to advocate for the veteran community.
The commission will also review current veteran services offered at the federal, state, county, and city levels. Members will also discuss methods to better communicate those services to the veteran population and their families.
Commission Chairman Chris Balch said the group is challenged with providing information about available for Atlanta’s veterans, especially those who are homeless.
“The challenge for veterans is getting access to information,” said Balch, a U.S. Marine veteran. “As a community, we not only need to let them know what’s available to them but also provide accurate information. We also need to be proactive in providing information as opposed to being passive by letting veterans come to us.”
Commission Vice-Chair BriGette McCoy knows all to well the challenge. The Army veteran was homeless in Atlanta sporadically for 10 years.
“Much of the challenge for many veterans is socioeconomic,” McCoy said. “Our challenge will be reaching the people who have been overlooked in the community. We need to identify those people and empower them.”
Each year, thousands of U.S. military personnel return home from active duty. Many of these individuals face challenges reintegrating into civilian life, among them physical and mental health issues, job training and placement, homelessness, and other challenges.
“Atlanta is the proud home to thousands of veterans,” said Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. “We owe them every measure of respect and service that the City can provide. I am inspired by the passion and energy of this commission and look forward to its service to the city.”