The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs has completed the regional assessment phase of the Forward March veterans’ advocacy campaign. The initiative was announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis in early 2019 and aimed to unite the combined energy and resources of Florida’s state agencies, veteran service organizations, private partners and local communities. The initiative kicked off in Tampa on March 29, 2019, at the University of South Florida, with regional meetings during the summer in Pensacola, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Ocala, Miami, Port Canaveral and Sarasota.
Veterans, elected officials, community leaders, and members of veteran service organizations were invited to attend each event where we shared our vision for the state’s standard of service and support for Florida’s 1.5 million veterans and their families. Participants engaged in a series of breakout sessions focusing on topics such as Community Services, Mental Health and Wellness, Benefits and Assistance, Transition and Legal Services and Veterans’ Treatment Courts.
With the feedback gathered from the regional meetings, we are issuing this report of our findings and recommendations. The report will identify where Florida needs to reinforce best practices, reduce redundancies and implement solutions to fill gaps.