Happy Birthday! CalVet celebrates 72 years serving veterans

Veterans coming home from World War I in 1921 reaped the rewards of low-interest farm and home loan financing available through our Farm and Home program, but it wasn’t until 1946 that the Department became a permanent fixture in California.

On this day, 72 years ago, the Legislature enacted law creating the department to serve all California veterans and their families, helping them achieve the highest quality of life.

IMG_5150-cake cuttingFor nearly three-quarters of a century, our department has connected veterans and their families with their earned benefits through education, advocacy and direct services. CalVet provides services from the first day a veteran returns home, and then throughout his or her path to education, career, homeownership, and lasting all the way until he or she needs a final resting place.

With the help of our local and federal partners, we unite businesses, non-profits, and the government to make sure every one of our veterans receives the support they have earned.

CalVet operates eight veterans homes across the state, beginning with the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, which was founded 134 years ago, and most recently with the opening of the Veterans Home in Fresno in 2013. The department, headquartered in Sacramento, also staffs three Veteran Services District Offices, and three California veteran cemeteries in Shasta County, Monterey County and Napa County.

Check out the progress we’ve made in the last 72 years and see if you may be eligible for benefits earned through your service.

Farm and Home Loan Division

iStock_000002199988LargeSince the Farm and Home Loan Program began in 1921, CalVet has helped more than 422,000 California veterans achieve the American Dream of homeownership. After the long years of the Great Recession that crippled the mortgage industry, and while very few Americans were purchasing homes, the loan program came through stronger than ever, thereby allowing loan production to quickly rebound.

In 2014, with the passage of Proposition 41 and the implementation of the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act, CalVet expanded its housing services so that affordable multifamily housing may be available to assist homeless and extremely low income veterans and their families.

Veteran Services Division

The Veteran Services Division (VSD) is tasked with connecting veterans and their families throughout the state with the benefits and services earned through their sacrifice and service to our country.  To perform this critical mission, staff provides advocacy, education, and assistance to veterans as they attempt to access their state and federal benefits, as well as community-based services.

IMG_5539With some 1.7 million veterans currently living in California, and an additional 25,000 returning each year, our efforts to accomplish these goals requires coordination and collaboration with the network of veteran service providers on the federal, state, and community level. Fostering strong relationships with this state-wide system of care enables VSD to act as a conduit for veterans and the services they seek.

In support of that mission, the division has four offices throughout California: Headquarters in Sacramento, and District Offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego. VSD is also responsible for operating:

  • The California Transitional Assistance Program (CalTAP)
  • Three California Veteran Cemeteries in Shasta, Napa and Monterey counties
  • The California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE)
  • Local Interagency Network Coordinators (LINCs)
  • Veteran Mental Health Services Grant Program
  • Homeless Veterans Support
  • Justice Outreach
  • Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Outreach
  • County Veterans Service Offices partnerships

Veterans Homes Division

CalVet operates a system of eight veterans homes that provide long-term care for 2,500 aged or disabled veterans. The homes offer a comprehensive plan of medical, dental, pharmacy, rehabilitation services, and social activities within a homelike environment for veterans during their final years.

Holderman-HospitalThe Homes are certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) and licensed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and/or the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).  The Homes range in size from 60 to 1,000 residents and are located in Barstow, Chula Vista, Fresno, Lancaster, Redding, Ventura, West Los Angeles and Yountville.

The Homes offer four levels of care: Domiciliary (independent living); Residential Care Facility for the Elderly; Intermediate Care; and Skilled Nursing (which includes memory care services in Yountville, West Los Angeles, Fresno and Redding). The Yountville Home, established in 1884, is the largest Veterans Home in the nation.  The newest Homes in Fresno and Redding began admitting residents in October 2013.

Women Veterans Division

IMG_1246The Women Veterans Division provides advocacy, information, outreach and support to California’s women Veterans and their families. There are three key areas of focus for the division:

  • Healthcare services that meet specific needs of women
  • Housing for women, especially those who are homeless or at risk with children
  • Military Sexual Assault – developing cultural competency training, improving reporting and claims for service with USDVA, and advancing legislative solutions

Minority Veterans Division

Liz-Perez for CVCThe Minority Veterans Division has the objective to increase awareness of and expand outreach to minority and under-represented Veterans. Because our Veteran population is as diverse as our California population, their needs vary widely. We aim to be of service to all Veterans, regardless of their age, gender, or period of service, and address the specific challenges some veterans face with mental health and physical disabilities.

Through outreach efforts like the LGBT Veterans Leadership Forum and the Black Veterans Summit hosted last year by CalVet, the Division is giving a voice to segments of the Veteran population that have been silent and underserved for too long.

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