Fancisco Urena, Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs for Massachusetts and Giselle Sterling, Commissioner of Veteran’s Affairs for the City of Boston sat down to celebrate veteran's day and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing Massachusetts veterans. "We're doing a lot, but there's more to be done," Sterling says.
Reintegration emerged as an important theme, as the two discussed the four veteran's courts around the state, the "Homes for the Brave" work the mayor's office is doing to end veteran homeless in the city of Boston. the initiative, a byproduct of Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, this program has housed has housed almost 500 Massachusetts veterans since its July 2014 inception.
"We also need to bring these veterans into society" This month marked the opening of the fourth Veterans Treatment Court in the state. The courts provide veterans who qualify with a way to stay out of jail and instead get treatment for problems like post-traumatic stress disorder or drug addiction. It's a way to help vets who are finding the bridge from service to civilian life a little shaky, and Urena seem confident in it's success sharing that the state is looking to open a fifth court on the south shore.
While veterans month is all about highlighting ways we can support veterans reintegrate, the military is also working to integrate women officially into combat positions. Will 2016 be the year the military acknowledges the combat service some of it's female veterans have made? "I hope so," Sterling shares.
Ultimately "we're not done yet," Secretary Urena said, passionately.
>>To hear more from our conversation, click on the link above.