RD558 - Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner’s Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report – December 1, 2016

Executive Summary:
I am proud to report on the 2016 accomplishments of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS). We remain committed to providing not only supportive services, but opportunities to the nearly 800,000 veterans who call the Commonwealth home and are contributing to the new Virginia economy.

Our innovative Military Medics and Corpsman (MMAC) pilot program is moving full steam ahead, partnering with six health care systems to hire veterans into medical jobs and placing them on track to obtain the licensure needed for a career in health care. Our world-class education system includes 1,000 programs certified for GI Bill use, and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has a new pilot program at seven community colleges for Veteran Resource Centers to help veterans successfully integrate into their new school setting.

Virginia Values Veterans (V3) and Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) have connected thousands of veterans around the Commonwealth with employers who understand the value of hiring veterans. To date, over 20,000 veterans have been hired by V3 companies, reaching this goal set by the Governor 400 days early. The mandate for all state agencies to become V3-certified, or in process, by October 31, is at 112 of 186 agencies certified or enrolled, with 60% fully certified.

With the continuing support of the Governor and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, Virginia now has the lowest rate of veteran homelessness compared to total veteran population in the country (6 per 10,000 veterans). Since 2011, there has been a 45% overall reduction in veterans’ homelessness; when a veteran does experience homelessness, we continue to work aggressively with our community, state, and federal partners to ensure that it is rare, brief, and non-reoccurring.

In FY16, the Department of Veterans Services:

• Filed 28,462 disability compensation claims on behalf of Virginia veterans and families, contributing to $2.77 Billion in federal compensation and disability payments to our veterans in FY16.

• Virginia Veterans & Family Services (VVFS) delivered 6,763 individual supportive services to veterans and their families, and served 126 veterans and family members at their weekend retreats.

• Virginia veterans received more than $890 Million in G.I. Bill benefits in FY15.

• Announced the new Puller Veterans Care Center will be built in Vint Hill, Fauquier County and the new Hampton Roads Veterans Care Center will be built in the City of Virginia Beach.

• Performed 1,778 burials at Virginia’s three state veterans’ cemeteries.

• Hosted 64,693 visitors at the Virginia War Memorial.

• Created a Virginia Veterans Resource Guide www.dvs.virginia.gov/vetresourceguide ( https://online.flippingbook.com/view/1017958/)

Even with all of our success, we are still eager to do more. DVS appreciates the strong support of the Governor, Secretary, and the members of the Virginia General Assembly. We are honored that veterans remain a high priority. We look forward to 2017, as we continue to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.

John L. Newby II