John Boerstler with Combined Arms, a veteran nonprofit from Houston, says soon the Lone Star State could be the largest veteran state in the country and he believes this could happen in the next two to four years.
With that in mind, veteran officials and the City of Austin are working to learn what the community needs through an assessment.
“What we are seeing almost as a cursory review is that community and sense of social connectivity still reign as one of the top and most requested needs,” Boerstler said.
A veteran himself, Boerstler said the lack of community could be hard for veterans in the midst of transitioning back to civilian life. He added creating a network for veterans is crucial.
“I think connectivity between the major communities like Austin, Dallas, Houston and then overlaying in connecting the rural communities as well to make sure they have increased access to social services,” he said.
Boerstler said through the city’s needs assessment they can determine the area’s top needs and potentially create a veteran resource center to serve as a one-stop-shop that would connect veterans to the Combined Arms’ partners for resources and employment.
“Austin is seen as a tech city, yes, but there is healthcare, government, construction there’s all kind of different opportunities in the Austin-area,” Boerstler said.
As the veteran population continues to grown, Boerstler admits there’s still work to be done.
“I do believe that we have some area of improvement but we are all coming together to make sure we do address those challenges and make those improvements as a team,” he said.
On Tuesday, veterans from the Central Texas five-county region are invited to attend a town hall meeting to learn more about the needs assessment and share feedback.
To register for the event click HERE.
There is also a statewide resource to help veterans. The Texas Veterans Commission works to provide veterans, and their families with education, mental health, and other programs.