Checkpoint has simplified the process for all Veterans of the United States military and their families to connect to resources in their communities regardless of their age, service type, rank, or situation. All Veterans in southwest Pennsylvania can now utilize Checkpoint’s online platform (www.thecheckpoint.org) to find the things that they need and become more informed about what’s happening in the region’s Veteran community. Checkpoint users can identify specific providers serving specific needs like career advancement, medical care and more. At the same time they can read peer reviews of services that will help them make the right decisions on who to contact.
“As we begin to observe Memorial Day, a day where we honor the memories and the service of those brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom, we want to stress the importance of helping provide quality support services to those Veterans who are still with us as well,” says Jared Souder, Executive Director of Checkpoint who is an Iraq war veteran. “Checkpoint provides Veterans with a platform not only learn about any and every opportunity, but to be heard and told through a fellow Veteran’s voice – so we can empower them to truly reintegrate into our region.”
There are 97,000 Veterans in Allegheny County, and nearly 220,000 Veterans in the 10 counties that make up southwestern Pennsylvania. This is among the highest concentrations of Veterans in the entire United States. Many Veterans have a wide variety of needs as they reconnect with everyday life in southwestern Pennsylvania or their current personal situation changes for any reason. Checkpoint offers a way for these Veterans to find and reach out to the providers of Veteran and military resources, as well as a unified location for resource providers to connect to these service men and women who may need their assistance.
With the recent controversy surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs and the delayed care for Veterans, Checkpoint offers a valuable resource to help Veterans find alternative sources for care and treatment without having to wait.
“There are often many resources in the community for the most commonly recognized Veteran populations with specific needs,” Souder explains. “As an example, often, there are a wide variety of services available to homeless or severely injured Veterans. It’s critical that we ensure the needs of Veterans falling into either of those categories are being met, but we also recognize that the majority of Veterans don’t fall into one of those categories. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have real needs, however. That’s why Checkpoint is for all Veterans, current military, and their families. If you’re a Veteran and you’re dealing with PTSD, looking for help in finding a job, or just looking for ways to get involved and give back, we want Checkpoint to be a place where you can find any of those things. The beauty of it is that we’re just leveraging the collective strength of the services that already exist throughout our community. We believe that Pittsburgh is a great place for Veterans, so we want Checkpoint is to be the destination where those local connections are made.”
Physical and mental healthcare are only two of the numerous resource opportunities veterans can access on Checkpoint. The site highlights opportunities to connect with 22 categories of resources and services including career services, government services, substance dependency, housing and financial, and legal and advocacy services, peer groups and more.
“We even provide the opportunity for veterans to learn about and share information on volunteer opportunities, networking, Veteran-centric events in the community, and much more,” added Souder. “We hope Checkpoint will become the new connective tissue that will be able to bring together all of the various elements of the Pittsburgh Veteran community into a single, understandable tool and create opportunities for better connections.”
Visit www.thecheckpoint.org to learn more about what Checkpoint is doing for the Veterans of southwest Pennsylvania.