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Program developed at Syracuse University expands to help veterans in the city of Syracuse

Syracuse University
The Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building at Syracuse University, which holds the National Veterans Resource Center";

A program meant to connect veterans with services that was developed at Syracuse University has reached vets across the country, and will now be able to help vets in central New York.

After Kevin Carmichael left military service in 2005, he said he didn’t get any help transitioning to civilian life. It remained a challenge until he got involved with AmericaServes in Pittsburgh, a coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations that work together to help vets.

“I ended up homeless in Pittsburgh a couple of times,” said Carmichael. “And my first time I was told to reach out to PA Serves, and I did. They helped me get connected with everything: housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, I got this suit through the network, helped me get back into school. Just supported me all the way around.”

The Serve networks were established by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. It is active in 17 communities across the country including Rochester and New York City. And now that program comes to central New York as SyracuseServes, according to Institute Director Mike Haynie.

"It’s not designed to create new infrastructure, new services and resources, but simply to provide almost a case management function for veterans in the city of Syracuse,” said Haynie.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh made bringing the program to Syracuse part of his State of the City speech earlier this year. He said SyracuseServes will condense the complex system of supports for vets, into a one-stop-shop.

"What we typically hear is just it’s hard to navigate all the different programs in different levels of government,” said Walsh.” And this program will help us streamline that delivery."

Haynie said this a perfect time to begin the program in Syracuse, as the community emerges from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Many of those challenges have been amplified in the veterans community, in the areas of homelessness, unemployment, underemployment,” Haynie said. “We continue to see way too high a rate of suicide in the veteran’s community."

SyracuseServes Coordination Center will be headquartered at SU’s National Veterans Resource Center.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.