HDA evaluated the resources that were available to military service members, returning veterans, and their families to identify the gaps in existing services and groups that are systemically underserved.
In 2008, we received a planning grant from the Michael Reese Health Trust to map the existing veteran services in Illinois and identify gaps in services. Our recommendation led to our initial focus on the needs of families of the fallen. We created a task force to assess what would assist that population. The mapping process also brought to light that certain groups of military service personnel, such as the National Guard, do not enjoy full benefits such as access to the VA. It was the beginning of a close working relationship with the Illinois National Guard across a range of issues.