Special Edition: Veterans Week

Nov 18, 2015 Issues: Veterans

This past week, Rep. Levin spent his time back home holding both public events and small meetings with a variety of community organizations and government agencies that provide services to local veterans.  Rep. Levin also participated in local events honoring veterans and their service.

Most importantly, Rep. Levin personally met with approximately 50 veterans throughout the week whose service dates range from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to WWII.  The veterans were very candid in sharing some of the difficulties they faced when dealing with the VA for medical care, and Rep. Levin was appreciated hearing their perspective.

The takeaway from this past week is that local agencies and organizations are doing incredible work to help our veterans, and we need to help spread the word that these services are available.

With regards to the VA, while several veterans acknowledged that there has been improvement over the last few years, it is obvious that much more work has to be done in order to ensure that our veterans are receiving the high quality care and treatment they deserve.

Rep. Levin plans to follow-up with the VA on several issues that were raised by both individual veterans experiencing difficulties, and by organizations like Volunteers of America, which is working diligently to address veteran homelessness and needs policy assistance.

District Events

Madison Heights Senior Center Veterans Program

Rep. Levin visited the Madison Heights Senior Center and met with local veterans, elected officials, and community members to celebrate the service of our veterans. Everyone was particularly inspired by the service of four WWII veterans who attended the event.

Veterans Job Training “Boot Camp”

Rep. Levin visited Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! to discuss their unique job-training Boot Camp. Veterans and their spouses have access to specialize resume services, mock-interviews, and even job training opportunities through the Boot Camp. Rep. Levin met with veterans to discuss this important program and other challenges veterans face searching for employment. 

Sterling Heights Veterans Day Ceremony

Rep. Levin attended the annual Sterling Heights Veterans Day Ceremony.  As part of this ceremony, Rep. Levin had the honor of presenting Army veteran Sam Fittante with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces wounded while serving.  Mr. Fittante also was presented with the French Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction, awarded to surviving American World War II veterans who served in France.

Discussion on Mental Health Services for Veterans

On Thursday, Rep. Levin met with the staff at the Macomb County Vet Center to discuss veterans’ transition from the military to civilian life. The support services provided are available to all veterans without a time limit or expiration date and are very successful in helping veterans work through various everyday difficulties in their lives. In addition, he met with a group of 25 veterans to hear firsthand about the unique challenges they have faced readjusting to civilian life.

Lunch and Conversation with Student Veterans

Rep. Levin, Macomb Community College (MCC) President Jim Jacobs, TACOM Commander Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham, and the MCC Office of Veteran & Military Services met with students to discuss their experiences with educational benefits and transition services. The veterans shared their stories on how they have overcome obstacles to find success in their education and expressed how helpful the Post-9/11 GI Bill has been. They also talked about the challenges that both young and older veterans face transitioning from the military to civilian and student life.

Discussion on Homelessness among Veterans

Approximately one in 10 homeless people is a veteran. Rep. Levin met with the VA and local community service organizations to discuss ways they are able to assist veterans who are homeless. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program is designed to assist very low-income veteran families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program employs a housing first model, an approach which centers on providing homeless veterans with permanent housing quickly and then providing VA health care, benefits and services as needed.

Services for Vets

Sharing their story: Rep. Levin’s office assists veterans with participation in theLibrary of Congress Veterans History Project, which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans. If you have a story you think should be told, please contact Rep. Levin! ’s office at 586-498-7122 to learn about community partners.

Job Training and Employment Assistance:  Veterans and families members who are interested in participating in the Veterans Boot Camp can find more information here, or can call the Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! at (586) 469-5220. Veterans can a! lso find information on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services available through the Veterans Administration.

Mental Health Services: To reach the Macomb County Vet Center call (586) 412-0107. Veterans who are experiencing a crisis may also call the confidential toll-free Veterans Crisis Hotline at (877) 273-8255 and (option 1); support is also available by sending text message to 838255 or online chat.

Educational Services: Veterans with questions about using their educational benefits should call (888) 442-4551 or visit the VA Benefits page. Current or prospective MCC student veterans can visit the MCC Office of Veteran & Military Services page or call(586) 445-7999.  

Homelessness Services: If you know a veteran who is experiencing a housing crisis, you may reach out to OLHSA at (517) 546-8500 or veterans@olhsa.org. The VA’s HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical service! s provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  For additional information call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET.