United States military veterans have battled and sacrificed to protect our freedoms. These courageous men and women should not have to battle through life following their service to our nation.
As a military veteran – I served in the United States Marine Corps – I see that our veterans in Detroit are left behind and under-served. This is primarily due to a lack of information. Significant resources are available through both the government and non-profits that can move you or your loved one to a healthier, safer and more stable life.
A large number of Detroit’s veterans are impoverished or homeless and that is absolutely disheartening after they have served this nation on our behalf. We have let them down. Let’s not continue on this same path. Together as Detroiters, we can share information about the many opportunities available to veterans, including housing assistance, and personally volunteer our time and resources to the worthy organizations that help our veterans.
For assistance in discovering and applying for veterans’ programs, I encourage you to contact the certified Veterans’ Counselors at both the federal Veteran’s Administration offices and at the local county offices.
Detroit veterans can receive benefits counseling through the
Wayne County Veterans Affairs Division:
28 W. Adams, Suite 1710
Detroit, MI 48226
or through the federal Veteran’s Administration office located in downtown Detroit:
Veteran’s Administration Regional Office
Veterans Benefit Section
Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building
477 Michigan Avenue, Room 1200
Detroit, MI 48226
From the Veteran’s Affairs website:
The Detroit VA Regional Office is located in the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building at 477 Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit. The reception desk is located on the 12th floor. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed on all federal holidays. The Regional Office Staff are dedicated to providing responsive and timely service to the veterans of Michigan and their families. Their duties include processing and making decisions on claims for disability compensation, and assisting with applications for a wide range of VA benefits. They also answer your questions when you call the toll-free number 1-800-827-1000, or when you come into the office for a face to face interview. No appointment is necessary.
Additionally go to www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm for information on social security benefits and eligibility for veterans.
Health Benefit Resources for all Military Veterans
U.S Department of Veterans Affairs
Information about Agent Orange
The federal Veteran’s Administration provides information and healthcare resources for Agent Orange and its related issues with illnesses such as diabetes. Veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange or other hazards, such as radiation during service, and have specific medical conditions may be entitled to free healthcare and a disability pension through the VA.
Health Services for Afghan and Iraq Conflict Veterans
OEF/OIF combat veterans may have been exposed to a wide variety of environmental hazards during their service in Afghanistan or Iraq. These hazardous exposures may cause long-term health problems. Hazardous exposures include:
- Burn pits
- Infectious diseases
- Depleted uranium
- Toxic embedded fragments
- Cold and heat injuries
- CARC paint
- Chromium at Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Facility
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of benefits and services to eligible OEF/OIF Veterans.
Veterans Health Administration Radiation Update
Atomic veterans with a related disease or disability may be eligible for VA compensation and medical care. VA’s new brochure (PDF) has the details on filing a claim, presumptive cancers and non-presumptive cancers and conditions, dose reconstruction, and more.
John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
The John D. Dingell VA Medical Center is dedicated to providing responsive and timely services to the veterans of Michigan and their families. Free medical care is provided to verified United States veterans. Its services include processing and making decisions on claims for disability compensation and assisting with applications for a wide range of VA benefits.
The following is a list of additional resources for veterans. If you also have a family member, friend or coworker who is a veteran, please share this list with them.
Adaptive Sports for Veterans
Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team and going to the website.
The American Legion
The American Legion is a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It’s the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization. They are committed to mentoring and the sponsorship of youth programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security, and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.
- 477 Michigan Avenue, Room 1210, Detroit, MI 48226
American Red Cross – Southeastern Michigan Regional Chapter
The American Red Cross was founded to aid fallen soldiers on the battlefield. Today, this effort continues through Red Cross services for military families. In times of emergencies, the Red Cross keeps people in touch with loved ones serving in the United States Military. There is a network of Armed Forces Emergency Centers, more than 800 Red Cross Chapters nationwide and offices on 100 military institutions around the world. The Red Cross provides a trained, compassionate staff to assist you in times of emergency as well as brief military personnel and family members on Red Cross services when troops are deployed. The Red Cross emergency communication services reach United States military installations, embassies and ships at sea around the world. Additionally, the Red Cross provides care packages, mental health counseling, phone cards, welcome home events, and other services for active military, veterans and their families.
- 313-833-8816 or 1-888-317-0860 to reach a loved one in the United States Military in the event of an emergency
- 313-833-4440 general assistance
AMVETS is one of the leading veteran services organizations. The organization is dedicated to providing veterans with several benefits and services. Veterans may be eligible for compensation and college scholarships, as well as interact with a community of veterans. Membership in the organization offers various discounts from retail, insurance and other services.
Detroit Veterans Housing Program or “Piquette Square”
This program, coordinated by Volunteers of America and Southwest Solutions, offers 24-month transitional housing that addresses the specific needs of 60 homeless veterans. In addition to housing, case management, counseling and employment training and placement are provided. Counselors from the Veterans Administration work onsite, assisting veterans to connect with their entitled benefits and resources.
Detroit’s Work Place
Michigan Works! Association
This agency helps connect job seekers with employers who are hiring. Veterans should make certain to inform potential employers that they have served in the armed services. Not only are employers impressed by military discipline and skills, but they currently can receive significant tax incentives for hiring veterans.
- 455 W. Fort Street, Detroit, MI 48226
- 313-962-9675 ext 532
Disabled American Veterans
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are a 1.2 million-member non-profit charity dedicated to building better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families. Annually, it represents more than 200,000 veterans and their dependents with claims for benefits. The DAV provides free personal assistance to veterans and their families, represent the interests of disabled veterans, and provide a structure where veterans can express their compassion for their fellow veterans.
The GI Bill provides education benefits to veterans and their dependents, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It also provides many different types of loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses.
- 400 South 18th Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
- 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GIBILL-1)
Marine Corps League
Members of the Marine Corps League join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together with those who have been honorably discharged from that service that they may effectively promote the ideals of American freedom and democracy.
Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs
Provides outreach to military veterans who are Michigan residents and seek assistance from the federal and state programs.
Military Order of the Purple Heart
The Military Order of the Purple Heart is composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat. Its mission is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly provide service to all veterans and their families.
Paralyzed Veterans of America
The Paralyzed Veterans of America are on a mission to change the lives and build brighter futures for our seriously injured heroes. Its goal is to empower these brave men and women with what they need to achieve the things they fought for: freedom and independence.
Project S.A.L.U.T.E (Students and Lawyers Assisting U.S Troops Everywhere)
Project SALUTE is a program in which local attorneys, law professors, and law students help low-income military veterans receive their rightful benefits including disability, pension and health care. This service is free and attorneys offer pro-bono representation.
General health and human services referrals for military veterans and all residents of southeast Michigan.
VA Coaching into Care
The Veterans Administration offers the “Coaching into Care” telephone service to assist family members and friends who are trying to encourage their veteran to seek health care for possible readjustment and mental health issues. Callers receive professional coaching on solving specific logistical obstacles and encouraging sometimes reluctant Veterans to seek care while still respecting the veteran’s right to make personal decisions.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential, toll-free hotline and online chat. This service is provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Employment Services
Through Pure Michigan Talent Connect, veterans may access job placement counseling, education services, interview and resume preparation and connect with employers. Most helpful to veterans is the Military Skills Translator, a tool to articulate your military experience into the civilian world in order for prospective employers to understand the value of your military skills.
This organization is led by members who have served in uniform for the United States Military. Some have served in combat missions while others served in supporting and peace keeping missions. Vets4Warriors is composed of military veterans who are all ready to help the men and women who are currently serving or have served in the National Guard and Reserve and who seek counseling and advisement from people who understand where you are in life. Vets4Warriors is a separate organization outside of the military and independent of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Calls are not discussed with the military, the VA or anyone else; your calls are completely confidential and, if you choose, you may remain anonymous.
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ mission is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for their sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.
Veterans Justice Outreach Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs, through the John Dingell VA Medical Center, has designated a Justice Outreach Coordinator that is responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved veterans in local courts and jails and also functions as liaison with local justice system partners. Veterans Courts have been established in Detroit and Redford. A jail outreach program has also been created.
VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
The Veterans Administration offers a national call center with counseling and resource referral available 24/7. Please share this information with homeless vets and help them with access to phone and Internet to seek out available resources.
Southeastern Michigan Veterans Stand Down
This agency aids homeless veterans in metro Detroit by bringing them together with area service providers to assist them in finding a place to live, suitable employment and/or job training, and to assist them in helping themselves get back into the mainstream of life's day-to-day activities. It hosts a community event in southeastern Michigan called a "Stand Down." The next Stand Down will be held October 12-13, 2011 at Detroit Rescue Mission, 3606 E. Forest Ave., Detroit, MI 48207.
This list will be updated as more information is brought to our attention, which will then be made available by visiting this website or by calling 313-224-2450.