The Los Angeles Region Community Veterans Engagement Board (LAR CVEB) met with Veterans and Community Oversight and Engagement Board Executive Sponsor, Dr. Lynda Davis, to discuss how to improve LAR’s community engagement.
There are over 10 million residents and more than 270,000 Veterans in Los Angeles County, making it the largest county by civilian and Veteran population in the nation.
Dr. Davis, Chief Veterans Experience Officer for VA, listened to concerns and provided insights on CVEBs and community engagement. The LAR CVEB discussed their relationship and role with the Los Angeles County Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN). VPAN’s mission is to provide a high quality, coordinated network of care that is easily accessible for Los Angeles county service members, Veterans, and their families.
In 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion directing Los Angeles to build the network.
The board members were updated on the West Los Angeles VA Master Plan and the current plan for on-site housing in the form of rigid tent construction. “The LAR CVEB is a united team effort to address the needs of our Veterans in Los Angeles County through a collaborative relationship with VA, state, county and community Veteran advocates,” stated Larry Van Kuran, Chair LAR CVEB.
The LAR CVEB had a detailed discussion on how to create a communications and marketing strategy to reach the over 270,000 Veterans who call Los Angeles County home.
One way the CVEB is seeking opportunities to assist is by retrieving data from Veterans, their families, and caregivers to direct its focus to the voice of the Veteran. This focus changes based on which city Veterans reside within the county. The board understands that the number one priority for Veterans in the city of Los Angeles is homelessness, while the priority in Culver City or Pasadena is access to care. The board is seeking to ensure they have a different approach and an understanding of how to address the needs of Veterans in the cities they reside within the county.
“I am pleased to currently serve on the Los Angeles Regional CVEB as an LA County Veterans Advisory Commissioner and current Vice-Chair of the CVEB. We have been involved with this CVEB from its creation,” said Stephanie Stone, U.S. Navy Veteran.
Dedicated to the mission
Another Vice-Chair for the LAR CVEB, Thomas Patrick O’Shaughnessy, demonstrated a similar dedication to the area Veterans. According to O’Shaughnessy, “We work as part of the communications network for our Veteran’s community in addressing the critical issues that the VA supports in the areas of homelessness, health care, and suicide prevention and work with the VA in any way that we can be of assistance.”
The LAR CVEB continues to work to expand its collaborative efforts in improving the Veterans’ experience with VA, state, and county resources. Their number one priority is ensuring that no veteran is left behind and that Veterans are linked to the services and resources needed to ensure their resiliency and success. The focus is not just centered around the Veteran, but their families and caregivers as well, helping to create an environment where all are able to access resources with ease while addressing their emotional needs effectively.
Navy Veteran Eric Faulkner is a management analyst for the Veterans Experience Office.