In 2014, the Gwinnett Coalition established the Gwinnett Veterans Resource Center (GVRC), the county’s first Veterans resource center, and began offering Veteran-specific support and services, because although Gwinnett County has a history of connecting residents to health and social services, their social services did not include those exclusively focused on Veterans’ needs. The GVRC built relationships with community businesses, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, existing Veteran service organizations, and individuals within the community, including the creation of the VetCorps group to support Veterans and their families and connect them to locally-available, Veteran-centric resources and services.
Seven years after the inception of the GVRC, Gwinnett County government began an expansion of its current health and human services model, focused on improving community resource support in underserved areas, which led to the launch of OneStop 4 Help and the inclusion of Veterans services. The county’s addition of Veterans services gives it a new and unique position to assist Veterans and their families and connect them to the resources they deserve. Therefore, Gwinnett Coalition partnered with the county to transition the GVRC to a new, permanent home with Gwinnett County’s Health and Human Services. This move eliminates duplication of services and helps to ensure Veterans and their families continue to receive the highest level of care available.
Veterans services were once an unmet, and often rarely acknowledged, need in Gwinnett County. Through the establishment and launch of the GVRC, the community became more aware of the needs and challenges Veterans and their families face and ways to offer help. This support is continuing through the successful transition of the GVRC into the care of the county. By partnering with Gwinnett County to establish a permanent home for Veterans services, Veterans and their families have access to a wide range of services, support, and resources. Knowledgeable staff with military backgrounds and Veteran experience are onsite to assist with various needs in collaboration with the Disabled Veterans of America Gwinnett Chapter 90. Coordinated Veteran services include housing solutions, food insecurity, continuing education, GI Bill loans, medical services, employment, legal advice, Veteran Administration benefits and claims assistance, and more.
“Our Veterans and their families deserve to be honored and supported. The Gwinnett Coalition’s Veterans Resource Center was established to create a specific place that addresses gaps in services, and we are pleased to transition this resource to its new permanent home,” says Renee Byrd-Lewis, CEO of the Gwinnett Coalition.