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Facts About California’s Veterans, And Where They Can Find Assistance

These organizations are dedicated to serving the needs of those who served America.

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 8, 2021

Mike Flippo   Shuttershock.com

Exact statistics on veterans can be tricky to collect, as some veterans choose not to identify as such on surveys. The United States Census also made a significant effort in its past collection to reach veterans and ensure their presence and voices were counted. Below, find some statistics on veterans (courtesy of the United States Veterans Administration) as well as some California organizations that provide services to veterans. 

1. Facts About California Veterans

Number of veterans living in California: 1.8 million 

Number of women veterans: 143,211 

Number of veterans aged 65+: 849,750

Number of veterans receiving disability compensation: 390,864

Number of enrollees in VA healthcare system: 760,910 

World War II veterans: 30,343

Korean War veterans: 92,417

Vietnam War veterans: 503,256

Gulf War veterans: 615,303 

Minority-race veterans: 588, 029

Homeless veterans: 19,000

Percentage of veterans who have not received adequate mental health treatment: 45.8 percent

Percentage of veterans who have not received any mental health treatment: 23.8 percent

California veteran suicide rate: 28.8 per 100,000

Veteran unemployment rate: 7.4 percent

Number of VA facilities: 101

Number of veteran-owned businesses: 254,873

2. California Department of Veterans Affairs

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) works to serve more than 1.6 million veterans and their families living in California. This state government department helps veterans secure housing, employment, and medical care. Many veterans are not receiving the federal benefits they have earned, and CalVet exists to assist with that, while also helping them live their highest quality of life. 

Within CalVet, there are several programs for veterans. CSAAVE helps eligible service members and veterans receive GI Bill benefits while attending college and job training programs. CalVet Home Loans are affordable loan options for veterans looking to purchase a home, while CalVet Veteran Homes provides residential care to residents who have medical issues or disabilities.

CalVet also has job placement programs, guidance for incarcerated veterans, and special divisions for minority veterans as well as those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

California Department of Veterans Affairs, P.O. Box 942895, Sacramento, CA 95295 • (800) 952-5626

3. California Association of Veterans Services Agencies

The California Association of Veterans Services Agencies is a consortium of seven nonprofit veteran service providers. Through CAVSA, veterans will find information on housing programs, mental health services, employment and training, and a Veterans Crisis Line that’s available 24 hours a day. It delivers direct services throughout the state from Eureka to San Diego.

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4. Nation’s Finest

Nation’s Finest serves veterans in several locations, mostly in Northern California. Its areas of concentration include transitional housing, case management, mental health, employment services, permanent supportive housing, homelessness prevention, and art therapy. Homeless veterans with mental health disorders can stay at one of the clinical-model transitional housing locations for up to two years, while some 300 units of permanent housing are also available. Nation’s Finest partners with local employers in each region they serve, as well as coordinating with local temp agencies to assist veterans with appropriate job placements. The organization also operates three mobile service units to reach out to veterans living in rural communities.

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    5. Placer Veterans Stand Down

    Located in Placer County in Northern California, the Placer Veterans Stand Down exists to assist veterans from all walks of life. At an annual Stand Down, veterans can receive medical services, employment assistance, and accessibility to counseling and rehabilitation services. Beyond that event, the organization provides veterans with valuable resources year round. This includes access to a 24/7 Veteran Crisis Hotline.

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    6. Roads Home Veteran Services

    A program of the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, Roads Home reaches veterans in several counties, including Alameda, Amador, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Solano. This organization strives to end homelessness among veterans and their families. Work began in 2010 when BFHP opened a transitional housing program for homeless male veterans. Four years later, grant money was received and the program expanded geographically while also diversifying the various demographics of veterans served. 

    Those who connect with Roads Home can receive housing location help, temporary financial assistance, and case management. BFHP operates permanent supportive housing in East Solano County, and also offers transitional housing (6-24 months) in Berkeley. Services are available to veterans residing in all counties mentioned above. 

    Roads Home, 3225 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703 • (510) 649-49654

    7. Veterans Accession House

    The goal of this Bay Area-based nonprofit is to “Help Those Who Served First.” VAH offers housing for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. While many organizations exist to help with veterans experiencing chemical dependency or living with disabilities, VAH strives to fill the gap in services for homeless student and working veterans—both service-intensive transitional housing (for those who need to stabilize other areas of their lives) and bridge housing (short-term solutiohns for those with permanent housing vouchers).

    VAH’s board of directors is made up of veterans who understand the perspective and life circumstance of those who have served, and are able to assist in a specialized capacity thanks to their own experiences. Providing stable and secure housing allows veterans to focus on their work and studies, giving them a much-needed leg up toward the next chapter of their lives.

    Veterans Accesion House, 198 W Ninth St, Pittsburg, CA 94565 • (925) 822-3175

    8. Veteran Services in County Governments

    In addition to national organizations, veterans can also obtain information and assistance from their local county governments. Here are some links.

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