Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our 2009 Annual Report

Community Voice Mail has become a trusted voice for isolated people who are in need of timely, helpful and encouraging information. Together with our local partners, we inspire our clients to persist and rebuild. In turn, they inspire us with their strength and gratitude.

The Community Voice Mail 2009 Annual Report has just been released. Entitled "Communication Matters," it's a nice snapshot of what we (our sites, our agencies, our clients) accomplished last year. Take a look!

And if you like what you see and want to do more, you can
But most importantly, the next time you see or meet someone experiencing homelessness, stop and talk to them. And ask them if they have a reliable phone number to stay connected.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Unemployment Among Recent Veterans

Military Times reports today that the unemployment rate among recent veterans (those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001) is rising, and still higher than the unemployment rate for all veterans. In July, the rate for these recent veterans was 11.8%, while the rate for all veterans was 8.4%. The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. for July was 9.5%.

According to another article in the Wall Street Journal, 25 to 29-year olds make up 39% of unemployed Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, and the unemployment rate for this group is 14.9%. Many recent veterans from these wars are returning to the U.S. with traumatic brain injuries and other service-related injuries that make it difficult or impossible to work. These veterans are also returning to a country with a struggling economy and little or no job growth. With combat operations in Iraq ending this month, and the promised withdrawal of all ground troops by the end of next year, there will be a lot of veterans looking for work in the coming years.

Kudos to U.S. Senator Patty Murray (Washington State), sponsor of the Veterans Employment Act (S. 3234), which is designed to improve employment options and opportunities for veterans, and especially focused on transition programs so that returning veterans can move from the military directly into jobs. This bill has made it out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

We serve a lot of veterans here at Community Voice Mail; they make up 11% of our total client population. We're not yet seeing many of the younger veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan asking for our services, but I fear we may in the future. Most of our veteran clients are Vietnam-era or perhaps Desert Storm/Desert Sheild; 62% of our vets are 45-59, while only 28% are 26-44 and 2% are 18-25. 28% have told us they're disabled, and 8.5% are women. 86% our of veteran clients list an employment goal when they first get their CVM number. 55% identify as homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

Too many veterans need our services...

Photo credit: Stephen Voss for The Wall Street Journal

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time-lapse Unemployment Map

Scary time-lapse map showing unemployment rates in U.S. counties between January 2007 and May 2010. See how quickly the economy changed for a lot of people.

(YouTube version here, but it's not as good).