Kessler Foundation Helps Fund Critcal Services for Veterans
On-location, Steve Adubato speaks with Elaine Katz, Senior VP of Grants and Communications for the Kessler Foundation, about the millions of dollars in grants the Kessler Foundation has given to several veteran organizations offering the critical “wrap-around” services veterans need most, such as assistance with housing and employment.
"Welcome to the Help For Our Heroes Series. We're doing a series of interviews with advocates, and experts, and people in government, and people in the foundation community who care deeply about our veterans. We're here at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, and we're pleased to welcome back, once again, to our broadcast, Elaine Katz, who is Senior Vice President of Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation. Thank you for joining us, Elaine. Thank you, Steve, for having me. Kessler Foundation cares deeply about the needs of veterans because? Because they're a population that's often overlooked, and unemployed, returning from different Gulf Wars, and other situations, and they just simply can't find employment. They can't...? It's very difficult, right? It's very difficult to find employment. There's a lot of other issues surrounding them. It's not just getting the job, it's all those wraparound services that make it so critical to help somebody, like a veteran, become employed. You used the term "wraparound services", could you break that down a little bit? So wraparound services... when you get a job, you go to work everyday,and you go home everyday. And you do your job. But if you don't have a home to go to, and you may be homeless, or you don't have a support system, or you don't have the funds to buy even clothes, or you're coming back with other issues that interfere with personal family relationships, it's very difficult to get and maintain a job. Disabled... veterans... I don't know if I want to even use that term. Veterans who are dealing with serious issues, head injuries, others, and Kessler Foundation deals with that as well, and I know there are scientists on your team we would talk to extensively about that, but those injuries have a great impact on the quality of life of many of these veterans and their family members, right? Correct. So if you're coming back a returning veteran, and you have cognitive issues with memory, you have a traumatic brain injury, you may have a spinal cord injury, you have other disabilities that affect your quality of life, and interfere with everyday life, doing everyday tasks, it's very difficult to go out in the community and find and maintain a job. So you have employers that say, "Yes, I want to hire a veteran," but when it comes down to the fact, some of them are very scared. Scared of? Scared of reactions in the workplace. Somebody may not be able to handle the job because of being labeled, or self identifying as having post-traumatic stress injury, it's..."