Lessons and Strategies for Program Design, Practice, and Policy from a Three-Year Demonstration Program | April 2018

MDC's Economic Security team designed and launched the NC VetsCorps in January 2014, deploying AmeriCorps members to help community-based organizations across North Carolina build their capacity to help economically vulnerable veterans and military families achieve greater economic stability.

Over three years, NC VetsCorps recruited 1,922 volunteers and served 9,308 veterans and military families with legal, food, clothing, medical, utility, education, employment, and housing resources and services.

In this report, MDC highlights the lessons learned and strategies for program design, practice, and policy from this three-year demonstration.

We publish this report as a resource for practitioners and policymakers working to empower economically vulnerable veterans and military families, who served or are serving our country, towards greater economic security and success.

Read the Report 

Overview

MDC designed and sponsored the NC VetsCorps program to deploy AmeriCorps members with community-based organizations across North Carolina to build their institutional capacities to help economically vulnerable veterans and military families achieve greater economic stability. The theory of the program was that building these institutional capacities would connect more economically vulnerable veterans and military families with resources and services to help them achieve greater economic stability.

The program set goals for NC VetsCorps members and their “host site” organizations to connect at least 4,700 economically veterans and military families with legal, food, clothing, medical, utility, education, employment, and housing resources and services and to recruit at least 1,275 volunteers to support the missions of the organizations.

The members and organizations exceeded those goals by serving 9,308 veterans and military families and recruiting 1,922 volunteers.

Many lessons and implications for strategy, program design, practice, and policy emerged from the program.

  • Practice: Supporting a veterans-supporting infrastructure includes:
    • Community connections: Creating supportive referral relationships between organizations and expanding the reach and efficacy of existing support structures, especially to legal services that remove barriers to accessing resources and services.
    • Organizational connections: Helping veterans and military families navigate the varied and not always well-connected systems necessary to meet their needs
    • Professional development: Providing training and technical assistance to strengthen organizations and professionals serving veterans and military families
    • AmeriCorps: For those considering whether to sponsor an AmeriCorps program, this report analyzes the opportunities and challenges for AmeriCorps members and host site and lead organizations.
  • Policy: Supporting this infrastructure through local, state, and federal policy includes:
    • Expanding access to financial supports.
    • Addressing the intersection of the criminal justice system, housing, and employment.
    • Providing access to trauma and mental health care.
    • Supporting demand-side strategies to stimulate job creation and economic growth.

MDC thanks its financial supporters, staff members, AmeriCorps members, and host site organizations for their work in making the NC VetsCorps program successful.

MDC publishes this report with the intent of informing and influencing practitioners and policymakers to empower economically vulnerable veterans and military families, who proudly served or are serving our country, towards great economic security and success.

Go Deeper

For more information on NC VetsCorps, contact Ralph Gildehaus.