According to a recent Albuquerque Journal report, New Mexico experiences an unemployment rate of just over 8%, and it has the second-highest poverty rate in the country at 18%. Additionally, New Mexico faces significant behavioral and mental health challenges: the state has the second highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the country at about 25 people dying by suicide per 100,000, well above the national average of 14. These challenges are especially relevant to the veteran population in New Mexico, which makes up nearly 11 % of our population.
A recent Google study determined that the number one issue reported by servicemembers is navigating the plethora of resources available to support them and their families. Having an abundance of options is a great thing, but trying to utilize them effectively is overwhelming.
The Veterans and Military Families (VMF) Caucus advocates establishing a coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans, transitioning servicemembers, and their families. The goal is to create a “no wrong door one-stop-shop” for New Mexico veterans and military family members to access the various local organizations and benefits more quickly. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system that does exactly that and it currently has networks in 18 locations. Our VMF Caucus wants New Mexico to be their 19th site – AmericaServes New Mexico.
AmericaServes vision is that every servicemember, veteran, and military family member can easily access the full range of comprehensive services required to achieve their unique goals and provide a first-class service experience to match servicemember’s and veterans’ first-class military service. They work to ensure all public, private, and non-profit organizations are accountable to one another and that they embrace formalized communication, coordination, and transparency. AmericaServes provides veterans, transitioning service members, and their families access to a simple and effective way to access and navigate a range of supportive services in their communities. Read more about AmericaServes HERE.
Implementation will require a partnership with The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to complete a Landscape Evaluation. Completing the IVMF Evaluation will provide an assessment of New Mexico’s veteran and military family population, their needs, the existing benefits, the supporting organizations, and it will provide actionable data leading to the establishment of AmericaServes New Mexico. Read more about IVMF HERE.