RD571 - Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner’s Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report – December 11, 2017

Executive Summary:

I am proud to report on the 2017 accomplishments of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS). We remain committed to providing not only supportive services, but opportunities to the over 725,000 veterans who call the Commonwealth home and are contributing to the new Virginia economy.

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 28,250 veterans have been hired by V3 companies or state agencies. VTAP is building partnerships with military instillations and groups like the USO and Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Our innovative Military Medics and Corpsman (MMAC) program is moving full steam ahead, partnering with six health care systems, which have hired over 40 veterans to date.

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 with over 3,500 veterans housed since October 2014; and 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.

We have opened three new Benefits offices (in Manassas, Loudoun, and Williamsburg), began construction on the Virginia War Memorial expansion project, and are working on expanding the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. We broke ground on our two new Veterans Care Centers – the Puller Veterans Care Center in Fauquier County (Northern Virginia) and the Jones & Cabacoy Veterans Care Center in Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads). We anticipate both care centers will be open in early 2020.

In FY17, the Department of Veterans Services:

• Filed 50,229 disability compensation claims on behalf of Virginia veterans and families, contributing to $3.15 Billion in federal compensation and disability payments to our veterans.

• Virginia Veterans & Family Services delivered 6,764 individual supportive services to veterans and their families, and graduated 30 caregivers in their Operation Family Caregiver program.

• Virginia veterans received more than $850 Million in G.I. Bill benefits in FFY16.

• Performed 1,750 burials at Virginia’s three state veterans cemeteries.

• Hosted 63,990 visitors at the Virginia War Memorial.

• Entered into a MOU with the DoD to send transitioning service members from Virginia a welcome home letter and a Virginia Veterans Resource Guide www.dvs.virginia.gov/vetresourceguide.

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 2018, as we continue to ensure that Virginia is the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.

John L. Newby II

This report includes the reporting requirements mandated by Code of Virginia § 2.2-2001.1 D.