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On behalf of the Board of the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies (CAVSA), we are grateful for the opportunity to deliver this 2019 State of the Veteran Community Report to our statewide community. This is our second annual report prepared through the support of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).

CAVSA agencies’ leadership and dedicated staff work on last year’s (2018-19) Action Recommendations has been nothing short of inspiring. This past year has focused on working in partnership with an array of federal, state, and local elected officials, organizations, and agencies on strategies that will benefit veterans and their families. We are committed to working with a wide diversity of advocates, stakeholders and policy makers to elevate veteran and veteran family well-being and mental health to a priority position on multiple policy, program, and budgetary agendas.

Legislators at the state and federal levels have been key allies, as have mental and behavioral health agencies—both those that explicitly serve veterans and those that have not been aware of serving veterans in years past. Although considerable progress has been this past year to help close service gaps for our veteran communities, there is still much to be done.

This report strives to celebrate and honor the successes of those who work tirelessly to serve our military veterans, while also highlighting unmet needs and identifying the challenges ahead.

CAVSA continues to believe that by working together, with the unparalleled support of public officials and stakeholders, Californians have the unique opportunity to compassionately and competently address the mental health and welfare needs of our veterans and all Californians.

As CAVSA expands our veteran mental health agenda, we are reminded veterans and their families have unique needs that require a culturally competent approach to services and treatment. However, we also recognize that our veteran constituents and their families are members of multiple groups with very diverse interests. Crossing barriers and working with other mental health stakeholders must be a critical component of our action agenda.

Even as we work to reduce the unacceptably high number of veterans who live in unsheltered homelessness, burdened by poor mental and physical health, we are also dedicated to celebrating and honoring the many veterans who are attending college, exiting from justice involvement to make better lives for themselves and their families, or serving in the National Guard, and as first responders, putting their military skill set to much-needed use in the civilian sector.

As you read this report containing activity updates, new data, and accomplishments, we hope you will be inspired to join us as we forge new partnerships and strengthen collaborations to support California’s diverse veteran community.

We look forward to positive change in the coming years.




— Stephen Peck

CAVSA Board President

U.S.VETS, President and CEO

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

— Goethe*