For 24/7 counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 988, Press 1. You may also call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (1-844-693-5838) or dial 211.


Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Hosts Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots Roundtable with House Speaker Paul Renner

December 19, 2023

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosted a Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots roundtable with Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner and state leaders at the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home. The event highlighted the Hope Florida expansion Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis recently announced which increases support for Florida veterans by connecting them to services, earned benefits ‎and community resources through Hope Navigators. Unique to this Hope Florida expansion for veterans, Hope Navigators coordinate with FDVA’s Veterans’ Claims Examiners to assist veterans in navigating their benefits. To view the roundtable discussion, click here.

“It is a privilege to welcome Florida House Speaker Paul Renner to discuss the advancements our state has made under the leadership of Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis to increase support for Florida veterans and their families,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell. “Through the First Lady’s Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots initiative we are breaking down the traditional siloed case management approach to veterans’ services and working beyond government to connect veterans with navigational support across government services, nonprofits, local resources and communities of faith.”

“I can think of no better way for Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis to honor the service and sacrifice of Florida’s veterans than through the expansion of her Hope Florida initiative at Florida’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” said House Speaker Paul Renner. “As a Navy veteran, and on behalf of the nearly 1.5 million veterans who call Florida home, thank you First Lady DeSantis for your support and leadership. Efforts and investments like these allow Florida to continue to flourish as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.”

“I am extremely proud to be part of the First Lady’s Hope Florida initiative, and I am thrilled to support the expansion of veterans services through Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots,” said Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. “It is truly an honor to join Florida House Speaker Paul Renner and General James Hartsell to celebrate this exciting collaboration between our sister agencies. Thanks to the steadfast leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis, we are able to serve both our senior and veteran population working in concert with the public and private sectors, faith-based communities, and nonprofits.”

“Hope Florida’s Pathway for Patriots is a profound movement that will make a real difference in the lives of those who served our country,” said Erik Dellenback, Governor DeSantis’ Liaison for Faith and Community. “This nation is indebted to those who have fought to protect its liberties and freedoms, including the right to freely worship. The Pathway for Patriots program is a fitting way for our state’s faith institutions to give back, connect with, and serve those who have preserved the religious freedom they enjoy today.”

FDVA is ‎a ‎constitutionally chartered ‎department ‎responsible for serving the Nation’s ‎estimated second-largest veteran ‎‎population. ‎Operating as the premier point of entry for Florida’s ‎‎nearly 1.5 million veterans, FDVA ‎‎operates a ‎‎network of State Veterans’ Homes and ‎provides statewide outreach to connect ‎‎veterans ‎‎with earned services, benefits, and support. ‎

Veterans and their families who need services can connect with Hope Florida by visiting or calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).

Hope Florida, launched by First Lady DeSantis in 2021 has been implemented by multiple agencies including, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Guardian ad Litem Office and the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This initiative utilizes Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity and economic self-sufficiency by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize support and uncover opportunities. These Hope Navigators are essential in helping individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to prosperity, develop long-term goals, map out a strategic plan and work to ensure all sectors of the community have a ‘seat at the table’ to be a key part of the solution. In addition, Hope Navigators help identify and organize opportunities for Floridians who wish to help their neighbors by connecting community members, including Florida seniors, with volunteer and mentorship opportunities.

‎For more information on Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots, visit

Hope Florida A Pathway for Patriots Roundtable