‘WAServes’ works to improve quality of care, access to critical services for service members, veterans and their families

SEATTLE — The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and the Schultz Family Foundation have launched WAServes, a network of veteran service organizations that will work to improve access for active-duty service members, veterans and their family members to services they need.

At the heart of the WAServes network is a coordination center accessed via the web or a toll-free phone number. The program launches with more than 50 service providers and will initially serve King, Snohomish, Island, Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties.

Individuals looking for services can engage with the WAServes network in three ways:

1. By phone: 1-877-515-7848 to speak with a qualified professional.

2. Online via the WAServes website at WAServes.org.

3. In person by visiting any of the participating regional providers who can register people in the system and make referrals if needed.

Finding and accessing services has become the number-one self-reported issue for veterans and their families, according to a recent Blue Star Families survey. The institute’s AmericaServes’ networks work to solve this problem by bringing together a wide range of vetted, service providers that offer medical, financial, employment, housing and other services.

Veterans and their families work through the local WAServes coordination center to identify what they need, and the center, operated by WestCare Washington, matches them with service providers. Using HIPAA-compliant technology, each case is monitored to ensure people’s needs are met.

“Many transitioning service members and veterans have more than one need so it can be extremely challenging for them to research hundreds of organizations to find the right services,” said Dr. Mike Haynie, the institute’s executive director and Syracuse University vice chancellor.

“WAServes solves this problem by bringing all of the great service organizations together in one place to make sure people can get the help they need.”

Howard Schultz, co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation, said in an announcement of WAServe’s launch: “Military and veteran families give so much to the country and the Schultz Family Foundation is dedicated to helping them during their transition back into civilian life. There are over 500,000 veterans in Washington state, so we are proud to bring WAServes to the Puget Sound area. It shows how powerful the community can be when we come together and offer coordinated care to these incredible men and women and their families.”

John Lee of WestCare Washington added, “It was an honor to be selected by the Puget Sound veteran service community to manage the network and run the coordination center. Our experience working with federal, state and non-profit veteran service providers helped us assemble an incredibly strong network under the WAServes umbrella and we’re looking forward together to serve the veteran community.”

WAServes is the eighth network to launch as part of AmericaServes.