Alaska National Guard family program seeks Mat-Su support

The Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition met with Matanuska Susitna Borough service providers in Wasilla on Thursday to coordinate with organizations that support veterans.

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The outreach event at Wasilla’s National Guard Armory is aimed at finding network opportunities with local Mat Su community service providers.

Lt. Col. Kay Spear-Budd is the Alaska National Guard family program director. She says the Coalition was designed two years ago to continue the level of support in communities for veterans and their families.

“We started out with behavioral health and health, and then we developed from there into separate alliances to address gaps that have been identified over the last to years to include, finance, legal, child and youth.”

She says  Thursday’s event in Wasilla drew more than thirty Mat -Su service organizations. The idea is not to create anything new, Spear-Budd says.

“But build off of what they have already got going, provide military cultural awareness so that more people know and understand the military culture, and then make those connections in the community.

The Mat Su Borough does not provide health or social services to residents. Non-profits step in as providers of mental health, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, affordable housing and other needs

Spear- Budd says that there is no one problem that veterans and their families face.

“It’s unique to every service member and their family and veteran.”

The Coalition links individual veterans and families with the services appropriate to the family’s need, matching the type of coverage – such as Medicaid or Medicare – with the right fit. The Coalition also works with providers to arrange sliding scale payments if there is no coverage for services.

Spear-Budd says in Alaska, there are 71 – 76 ,000 veterans, but only about half of them have done the paperwork to claim veterans status.

“Here in the Mat Su Borough we have approximately ten thousand veterans residing here.. veterans, not their families. And a good estimate when we figure out families is 2. 5 to every veteran .. to average out the family members to go with them.”

She says as federal funds dry up, so do services, so it’s important to collaborate with providers.

“If we can capitalize on that collaboration, we can carry our money and our services just a little bit further for a little bit longer”]

The AK National Guard hopes to collaborate with the various agencies to conduct a needs analysis to identify gaps in services or duplications of effort in addressing the needs of veterans and their families.

The Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition met with Matanuska Susitna Borough service providers in Wasilla today [thursday] to coordinate with organizations that support veterans. KSKA’s Ellen Lockyer reports .

The outreach event at Wasilla’s National Guard Armory is aimed at finding network opportunities with local Mat Su community service providers.

Lt.Col. Kay Spear-Budd is the Alaska National Guard family program director. She says the Coalition was designed (about) two years ago to continue the level of support in communities for veterans and their families.

“We started out with behavioral health and health, and then we developed from there into separate alliances to address gaps that have been identified over the last to years to include, finance, legal, child and youth.”

She says Thursday’s event in Wasilla drew more than thirty Mat Su service organizations. The idea is not to create anything new, Spear Budd says but to

“But build off of what they have already got going, provide military cultural awareness so that more people know and understand the military culture, and then make those connections in the community.”]

The Mat Su Borough does not provide health or social services to residents. Non-profits step in as providers of mental health, drug and alcohol abuse *counseling?*, affordable housing and other needs

Spear- Budd says that there is no one problem that veterans and their families face:

“It’s unique to every service member and their family and veteran.”

The Coalition links individual veterans and families with the services appropriate to the family’s need, matching the type of coverage – such as Medicaid or Medicare – with the right fit. The Coalition also works with providers to arrange sliding scale payments if there is no coverage for services.

Spear-Budd says in Alaska, there are 71,000-76,000 veterans, but only about half of them have done the paperwork to claim veterans status.

“Here in the Mat Su Borough we have approximately ten thousand veterans residing here.. veterans, not their families. And a good estimate when we figure out families is 2. 5 to every veteran .. to average out the family members to go with them.”

She says as federal funds dry up, so do services, so it’s important to collaborate with providers

“If we can capitalize on that collaboration, we can carry our money and our services just a little bit further for a little bit longer.”

The Alaska National Guard hopes to collaborate with the various agencies to conduct a needs analysis to identify gaps in services or duplications of effort in addressing the needs of veterans and their families.