Veterans can need different kinds of help – and when they do, it serves them better to have lots of resources in one place.
That’s the thinking behind a new “one-stop” center for military veterans in Western New York that will be opened in Buffalo in early April, coordinators of the project said.
“It brings people, it brings organizations, and it brings resources together,” said Roger L. Woodworth, chairman of the center’s board of directors.
“That’s what makes us different,” said Woodworth. “That is not out there yet.”
By various counts, there are anywhere from slightly more than 100,000 military veterans in Western New York to as many as 250,000, according to organizers of the new center.
The nonprofit Veterans One-Stop Center, located at 1280 Main St. in Buffalo, will also serve active service members and be able to focus on veterans’ families, organizers of the center said. Those receiving dishonorable discharges and those serving short stints in the military are welcome as well, Woodworth said.
“We welcome the broadest [array of people],” Woodworth said.
Available services and resources span a range – from social and health resources to educational and economic support, organizers said.
Services will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual veteran or service member, organizers said.
“We help you manage your goals,” Woodworth said. “It’s individual.”
Among support resources will be job and employment assistance, peer mentoring, mental health counseling, benefits counseling, legal services and housing services, organizers of the center said.
“Right now, nearly everything we offer exists – it’s out there,” said Woodworth. “Instead of going to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, it’s like going to the supermarket.”
Collaborators in the project include the Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition and Goodwill Industries of Western New York, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo.
Erie County also is a participant in the project, through a few of the county’s departments.
“We help bridge the gaps in what already exists, and we help the collaborations,” Woodworth said. “We’ve made the connections, we’ve made the collaborations.”
For more information, visit www.vocwny.org or call 882-5935, Ext. 0.