USC survey helps the military community
The USC School of Social Work has launched the most comprehensive survey to date to gauge the diverse needs of Los Angeles County’s military community, including families and service providers.
The Los Angeles Veterans Survey, developed by the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families at the School of Social Work, will poll 3,000 active service members and veterans; 1,000 spouses and partners; and 500 service providers to help identify the opportunities for program development, public policy and community collaboration.
“People would always ask me about the needs of our veterans in Los Angeles,” said Anthony Hassan, the center’s director. “The problem is I don’t know. No one does. I could speculate based on national data, but the best way to identify opportunities for service programs is by putting boots on the ground and asking them.”
Working in conjunction with the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative, a group representing more than 200 service providers and organizations, the center will use the data to help build effective community networks and promising preventive strategies.
Veterans are returning to civilian life with a range of transitional challenges, including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and homelessness. But the vast majority are navigating through life’s daily challenges — employment, housing, health care, education, relationships, etc. — and do not always reach out for help.
The survey is an opportunity to reach out to the more than 320,000 veterans in Los Angeles County and gather data that will point new policies toward the most strategic impact areas so that the majority of those returning veterans and military families do not turn into extreme cases.
“The Los Angeles Veterans Survey is a hugely important, path-breaking initiative that will contribute significantly to the identification of unmet needs and challenges facing our veterans,” said Gen. David Petraeus, a Judge Widney Professor at USC and former director of the CIA.
The center has partnered with 211 LA County, the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Goodwill to recruit targeted populations that have eluded similar studies in the past, including women and homeless veterans.