Empowering Veterans, Building Partnerships Focus of VA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
With blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Dovgan (pastor of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Troy, NY) recently participated in a Veterans Roundtable, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) in Washington, DC.
Following the conclusion of the formal event, Fr. Vasyl shared with the administration of the Church the key points of the meeting, stating that the Veterans Roundtable was an opportunity to develop working relationships among faith-based and secular organizations and various VA officials in order to provide a full range of services to Veterans, their families, and survivors.
“VA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership (CFBNP) works with Veterans where they are — as they integrate back into their families, communities and careers as well as into places for moral and spiritual support...” reported Fr. Vasyl.
The mission of the center is to develop partnerships with faith-based, nonprofit and community/neighborhood organizations to expand participation in VA programs in order to better serve the need of Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers and other beneficiaries.
For the past eight years, the CFBNP has followed VA’s strategic goal of “empowering Veterans to improve their well-being by connecting them with organizations.” This serves as the impetus for the mission, vision and work of the center.
The center has engaged in diverse outreach and partnership efforts to support the White House and VA’s high-priority goal of eliminating Veteran homelessness. It has done so by collaboratively working with individual clergy and congregations from various faiths to assist Veterans in their communities.
Working with external and internal stakeholders, the center has reached hundreds of partner organizations through outreach events such as job fairs, business forums, denominational conferences at the local, regional and national levels, medical center stand-downs, VA regional outreach events and clergy training workshops. Each event, whether urban or rural, provided information on programs and services VA offers directly to Veterans, their families and community members.
VA representatives from the Veterans Benefits Administration, National Cemetery Administration, and Veterans Health Administration shared information on a variety of VA programs addressing Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Homeless Veterans, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Servicemember reintegration, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility and benefits, and Home Loans.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA presently has 6 institutional and 2 military chaplains that serve the needs of hospitals, prisons and military installations.
About the center: The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships was established on June 1, 2004, by Executive Order (EO) 13342, and reestablished with a name change by EO 13199 in February 2009. The EO’s guidance makes it clear that “faith-based organizations are eligible to participate in the Agencies’ social service programs on the same basis as any other private organization as well as participate in effective partnerships.”