Military and Veterans Service Alliance
of the Lowcountry South
Carolina

News Release

Military Community Connection of North Charleston Awarded HalfMillion Dollar Multi-Year Grant to Coordinate SCServes - Lowcountry 
New coordinated network for veterans, SCServes – Lowcountry, opening in August to support South Carolina’s Charleston, Beaufort, and Myrtle Beach area veterans, service members and their families. 
Charleston, S.C. (June 15, 2016) – Imagine if our Lowcountry veterans and their families had one number to call or one website to visit to ensure timely, accurate referrals to the services that they have earned? The wait is over! This August, South Carolina takes its first transformative steps in ensuring its veterans and their families have access to the most comprehensively-arrayed network of services, resources, and care found anywhere in the nation all by calling one phone number or visiting just one website. 
This new coastal South Carolina initiative known as SCServes – Lowcountry is part of a broader national effort, AmericaServes, shepherded by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), which aims to better address the needs of service members, veterans, and their families through streamlined access to high quality providers on a coordinated basis.  Currently, there are AmericaServes networks operating in Charlotte, NC; Raleigh/Durham, NC; Pittsburgh, PA and New York, NY. New coordinated networks are preparing to launch in Coastal North Carolina, as well as Hampton Roads, VA – which will lead to a first of its kind coordinated network spanning across three states and some of the nation’s largest military installations.  
The SCServes – Lowcountry network will provide improved coordination and care to veterans in nine South Carolina coastal counties including: Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Georgetown, Jasper, Hampton and Horry counties.  These counties are home to over 120,000 veterans or more than half of South Carolina’s total veteran population.  More than 60 federal, state, local government and nonprofit veteran service providers support veterans and their families in this area but they have not been coordinated until now. 
Following a very competitive RFP process in which dozens of community and government organizations were given an opportunity to compete, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) has awarded the Military Community Connection of North Charleston a $450,000, multi-year grant to serve as the SCServes – Lowcountry’s underpinning coordinating entity. Proposals were evaluated by a team of local veterans’ advocates, national community leaders involved in the AmericaServes network, and IVMF leadership.  As the Lowcountry Coordination Center (quarterback), the Military Community Connection will work in partnership with the state, area military bases, Veterans Affairs (VA), and over
60 public and nonprofit service providers throughout the region to continuously improve the quality, efficiency and accountability of veteran programs and services. 
SCServes-Lowcountry is scheduled to go live on August 2, 2016. The launch of this fifth AmericaServes coordinated network is the first in South Carolina and it joins two fully functioning networks in North Carolina, with a third and fourth network in development there.  SCServes – Lowcountry’s Northern coverage area (Horry County) will seamlessly overlap the adjoining coastal regions of North Carolina’s upcoming Coastal Network (Brunswick and New Hanover County), providing a first of its kind cross border functionality ensuring no veteran seeking services is left behind. 
The SCServes – Lowcountry coordination effort is a uniquely tailored set of community defined best practices facilitated by the private support of philanthropic partners harnessed by IVMF and its partner Accenture, the global business management and consulting firm.  The AmericaServes model is further enhanced by a state of the art shared software platform delivered by Unite US in order to coordinate and track referrals, manage outcomes and create real accountability in the veterans space, for the first time ever. Shared data sets, standardized measures of wait times, outcomes and customer satisfaction set this network apart from anything else operating anywhere in the country. 
“Successfully integrating military and veteran families into their communities’ while addressing and meeting their needs is a complex problem set which involves multiple--often overlapping--providers and various systems across the nine county geographic area with pre-existing relationships and resources that change regularly,” said Marie Elana Roland, CEO of Military Community Connection (MCC). “MCC has developed strong relationships within the provider community while gaining the trust of the veteran community in specific areas of focus such as finding employment, training, education, housing, healthcare, mental health and even temporary assistance. Working together with our partners at IVMF, Accenture and Unite Us, as well as major funders and foundations, the SCServes-Lowcountry initiative builds unity within our community to achieve one common ground:  seamless care for veterans and their families with ‘no veteran left behind.’” 
The goal of these public-private networks is to smartly connect each unique military-connected member who is seeking services to right providers that can then best meet their needs in the timeliest fashion. Offering a true ‘no wrong door’ approach, the SCServes-Lowcountry coordination center will be available directly by a toll-free hotline with licensed professionals standing by. Alternatively, veterans, service members and their families can submit their request directly through the SCServes-Lowcountry website. Both the website and the hotline will go live in August.  
No longer will South Carolinians in distress have to look for providers on their own, follow up on the progress of their requests, or be denied services due to capacity or eligibility restrictions. This network will ensure that a positive and quality referral is made, measured and tracked. 
Dr. Mike Haynie, Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University said, “South Carolina is joining an established model in the Carolinas that can serve as a template for other states and regions across America. We are proud to see this initiative grow across state lines and hope that more and more service providers across America come together to improve upon the navigation experiences of the veterans, service members, and families they serve. Our veterans deserve the best and by all of us working together, they will get it.” 

 
Media Contacts:
Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications, Institute for Veterans and Military Families,  (315) 443-5690, m: (315) 558-9483, wwesterv@syr.edu   
Marie Elana Roland, CEO, Military Community Connection, (864)-832-0715, Meroland@mccunite.org  
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families  The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Read more at http://vets.syr.edu/  
About Military Community Connection Military Community Connection (MCC) is a recognized leader in coordinating veterans services across the coastal regions of South Carolina. Since its inception, MCC has been building networks of providers and organizing existing community resources to meet the needs of veteran and military members and their families.  MCC’s leadership and staff are the convening force behind monthly regional working groups across all functional areas of veteran needs including employment, housing, transportation, education, subsistence, health and wellness, spiritual support, mentoring and volunteering
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