Clackamas County’s Veterans Advisory Council reports on critical issues affecting vets and their families

From: Gari Johnson, Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs, 503-742-4370

Media and Interested Parties

The Clackamas County Veterans Advisory Council recently released its Annual Report to the Community for the 2017-2018 fiscal year providing a recent snapshot of issues, goals, and strategies that are key to veterans’ success. This council has advised the Board of County Commissioners and the Department of Health, Housing and Human Services on improving the lives of veterans since 2012.

The council measures its effectiveness by tracking key benchmarks that address critical needs of veterans, which include education, family support, employment, housing and mental health. The council then identifies strategies for improvement with help from community partners, elected officials, veterans and their families. Some of the goals, tracking measures, and results revealed in the recent report include the following:

Goal: Education
Measure: Veterans are successful and stay in college or trade school until completion of their program
Result: The retention rate for veterans at Clackamas Community College is 55 percent, slightly higher than the overall student retention rate of 53 percent. When compared with data from the previous year, the veteran retention rate has increased 11 percent
Goal: Employment
Measure: More employers access the Work Opportunity Tax Credit when hiring veterans
Result: 177 veteran applications approved for the period of October 2017 through March of 2018
Goal: Housing
Measure: Clackamas County functionally ends veterans’ homelessness
Results: As of the end of June 2018, 141 veterans were listed on the Veterans By-Name Registry; 61 veterans housed in veterans-specific housing operated by Clackamas County Social Services; and, 36 veteran families were assisted before they became homeless

The council’s future goals include the following critical issues:

  • Communicate with Clackamas County’s Legislative members to ensure that the needs of veterans are heard.
  • Fully engage with the County’s Zero Suicide Initiative. This will include a “listening session” where veterans will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on how to accomplish the goal of no veteran suicides in Clackamas County. 
  • Help to ensure that the county’s Agent Orange outreach efforts reach the intended audience, and that more medical practitioners understand the link between Agent Orange, certain diseases, and access to Veterans Administration Benefits. 

The Veterans Advisory Council meets six times per year and the public is welcome to attend the meetings. For meeting times, the complete Annual Report to the Community, and the council’s list of future goals, go to www.clackamas.us/socialservices/community.html.

For additional information and questions about the Clackamas County Veterans Advisory Council, the public may contact Valerie Skinner at 503-650-5643 or valerieski@clackamas.us.

Members of the media may contact Clackamas County Community Relations Specialist Gari Johnson at gjohnson2@clackamas.us or 503-742-4370.