JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are 1.6 million veterans in Florida, many of them right here in Jacksonville. If you're one of them, the state's Department of Veterans Affairs, is launching a campaign to let you know you could be eligible for certain housing, health care, and education benefits.
"Once you've served in the military and received an honorable discharge, you have access to veteran benefits...a range of benefits," said Retired Rear Admiral Victor Guillory.
Guillory is Jacksonville's Director of Military Affairs. He and his staff work daily to help local veterans apply for the benefits they've earned. They admit, it's difficult. The rules are constantly changing.
Veteran Service Officer Herschel Allen said, "They're not eligible today, but next month they might be. But how are they gonna find out? How do they know that?"
They say spreading the word becomes even more complicated, considering thousands of veterans are homeless. In fact, of the homeless population in Florida, one in five is a veteran. "Homeless vets is a problem. And it's a problem in Jacksonville," said Guillory. "We provided flyers to all the central locations around the city where homeless vets tend to congregate."
Pretty soon, veterans will start seeing commercials on TV. There's even an app designed to help them. Locally, the city's website is full of information. If you have any questions, all you have do is log on to http://www.coj.net/departments/military-affairs,-veterans-and-disabled-services.aspx
. Or you can simply stop by City Hall. No appointment is necessary.
Guillory said, "We help them fill out the paperwork and submit it to veterans administration. And we do this at no cost to the individual."
To learn more about what benefits are available to veterans, go the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs website at http://floridavets.org/