Survey for veterans, relatives and caregivers of veterans, to shape future policy in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayor Lenny Curry announced Tuesday in a news conference that the City of Jacksonville will be launching a veterans assessment survey to learn how to better help veterans in the area, and to decide whether to create in Jacksonville a brick-and-mortar veterans wellness center, which would house a variety of different organizations and resources.

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“Jacksonville is undoubtedly a military town,” Curry said during a news conference on Tuesday. “Over a quarter of our residents have ties to the military, myself included. We’re home to over 75,000 active duty service members and thousands more veterans of all ages and backgrounds. We’re very proud of our citizens and the sacrifices they make to protect our nation, and we remain committed to supporting our veterans.”

The City of Jacksonville is partnering with Endeavors, a social services organization in San Antonio, Texas, which has been helping veterans for more than 50 years. It is also collaborating with the University of North Florida and the Combined Arms Institute to launch the survey.

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Kelly Finn Störmer runs the nonprofit Combined Arms Institute, which is based in Houston, Texas, and helps veterans transition out of the services.

“[We help veterans have] easy access to services and what’s out there,” she said.

She wishes she had that when she transitioned out in 2008.

“We didn’t have this holistic support services then as we do now so we’ve done significant improvements,” she explained.

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In order to gauge the need in Jacksonville, the city has launched a 10-minute, anonymous survey that will be open until Sept. 21. The data gathered will be key to addressing service gaps and the needs of area veterans and their families. It will also highlight the feasibility of a veterans wellness center in Northeast Florida.

“It’s important we don’t create redundancy and fill those gaps,” Finn Störmer emphasized. “I think everyone has the opportunity to give 10 minutes of their time to inform policy. It’s the only way we can use our voices to improve things for the next generation as well as today.”

There will also be a town hall meeting to discuss the survey on Sept. 1 at Salem Center, and the results of that survey will be published in November.

For more information and to take the survey, CLICK HERE.