Veteran Resource Spotlight: Houston
As a veteran, your military service has earned you a wide range of benefits and support. However, sorting through the list and accessing the resources in your area can be a daunting task. We’ve done some of the legwork by sorting and gathering some of the top resources and contacts for veterans. Today’s city spotlight on veteran resources focuses on Houston, Texas.
More than 300,000 veterans live and work in Houston/Harris County, making it one of the largest populations of military service members and families in the nation. Houston also happens to be the second largest provider city for the all-volunteer military in America. Consequently, it is a city filled with patriotic pride and a long list of resources available for veterans and their families.
In June of 2007, Harris County and the City of Houston joined together to launch the Returning Veteran Initiative (RVI) in an effort to ease the transition home for the thousands of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After holding several summits to gather information and form committees, the RVI began launching new resources for veterans including a free 80-page downloadable booklet that covers a wide range of topics, from veteran-focused financial services, health care, and housing, to business development, behavioral health, and transportation (for example, disabled veterans can receive free transit and toll lane access).
Another result of the RVI was the formation of the City of Houston’s Veterans Affairs Office, whose goal is to deliver “unparalleled service to our serving military, veterans, and their families.” The office works to ensure that veterans, their families, their dependents, and their survivors will never be denied access to the entitlements promised them by a grateful nation. The office maintains an extensive website offering resources on employment, education, health care, and networking/mentoring. The site also includes a calendar with almost daily events and support groups for veterans and their family members.
For veterans seeking healthcare services, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), located at 2002 Holcombe Blvd in Houston, serves as the primary health care provider for almost 130,000 veterans. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases.
Among its numerous centers and specialized departments, the MEDVAMC is also home to a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic, an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program, and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Located on a 118-acre campus and built in 1991, MEDVAMC is a state-of-the-art facility designed with four atriums that contain patio gardens, wheelchair basketball courts, and a rehabilitation pool.
Houston is also the site of two full-time offices for the Texas Veterans Commission, one inside the MEDVAMC and one at the VA Regional Office located at 6900 Almeda Rd. The Texas Veterans Commission is the designated agency of the State of Texas to represent the state and its veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency helps veterans in filing VA disability claims and during VA appeals processes, and also assists dependents with survivor benefits and entitlements.
The Commission is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping Texas veterans get the most benefits they are entitled to (Texas leads all other large states in monetary recovery of Veterans’ compensation and pension benefits with more than $1.5 billion distributed annually). The Commission counselors can help veterans and their families with questions regarding benefits, survivor and dependent needs, filling out VA paperwork, and medical issues.
For additional resources and more links to Houston-area veteran resources and statewide resources, visit our full collection of Houston veteran services and veterans benefits in Texas.
Written by Megan Hammons