Every year on November 11, we recognize and honor America’s veterans for their service and love of country.
Long Islanders in particular have many neighbors to thank: Both Suffolk and Nassau counties are among the top counties in the country with the highest number of Veterans. Based on data released by the VA in 2013, Suffolk County is home to over 79,000 veterans, making it the county with the greatest number of veterans in all of New York State (Nassau has the 4th most veterans).
With such a high concentration of veterans in our region, it’s important to ensure the needs of this population are met. Veterans are not immune to economic, physical health, and mental health hardships, and statistics and trends in national –level data highlight this fact:
- In a report released by the VA in 2013, 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each day.
- Nationally, The poverty rate among veterans between 2005-2007 was 5.9%, but by 2010-2012, the rate had increased to 6.9%.
- From 2009 to 2012, the number of Veteran households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increased significantly from 4.8% to 7.8%, a more than 60% increase in 3 years.
Recognizing the importance of serving those who served us, the nonprofit sector across the Island has worked to build Veteran support programs and that includes several of our member organizations. The Association for Mental Health and Wellness offers a plethora of programs for vets, including housing services, case management, education, and a Crisis Respite mental health program, and United Way of Long Island runs the Mission United program, focusing on employment services, education, financial wellbeing, housing, and family support.
So today, we send a huge and heartfelt thank you to all our veterans for their service, to their families for the sacrifices they make and also to our member organizations and partners, who work tirelessly to support and advocate for our veterans who have given so much.