Mayor Alvin Brown has announced two major steps forward in his administration’s goal to deliver quality, cost-effective services to Jacksonville’s military and veterans community.
- The U.S. Department of Labor is giving the City of Jacksonville a $218,260 grant to help homeless veterans get job training.
- The Florida Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has bestowed the Pro Patria award on Mayor Alvin Brown’s Jobs for Veterans program, a public-private partnership with the Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition and more than 80 employers. This represents the highest honor the ESGR, a Department of Defense agency, bestows to recognize best practices. Normally the award goes to a business, but for the first time the award went to a municipality to recognize Jobs for Veterans.
The Labor Department’s grant comes through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which since its inception in 1987 has worked to identify and address the complex problems facing homeless veterans by coordinating with local veterans service agencies and workforce investment boards. The grant will help to expand services to help turn around the lives of homeless veterans in Jacksonville.
“My goal is to make Jacksonville the most military-friendly city in the nation, second to none,” said Mayor Brown. “This grant and this award will help us get there. These folks put it all on the line for all of us. They should never spend a night in the streets of a nation they once defended.”
It is estimated that one of every four homeless people in Jacksonville has served in the military.
“This grant will enhance the City of Jacksonville’s ongoing work to provide the highest level of service to veterans,” said (Ret.) Rear Admiral Victor Guillory, director of the Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department. “Through effective case management, job training, career counseling and social services, it’s our mission to be sure that every veteran has access to the proper resources.”
The program applies to all veterans, with exception to those dishonorably discharged, who are currently homeless. The city is partnering with Clara White Mission and Goodwill Industries to deliver the services. The program will begin July 1 and is expected to run for the next three years. Those interested in applying for service can contact Harrison Conyers at (904) 630-3680.
Jacksonville’s Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department, which Mayor Brown elevated to the cabinet level, operates with a threefold mission: To advocate for the expansion of military infrastructure, personnel, and jobs in Northeast Florida; to deliver competent and timely services to our veterans, their survivors and their caregivers; and to serve the disabled community through ADA compliance and enforcement, special events, and services.