Houston Mayor Bill White has created a city office just for military veterans. The Office of Veterans’ Affairs will do whatever is needed to help Houston area veterans get the benefits they’re entitled to, as Houston Public Radio’s Jim Bell reports.
Back in the summer, White called a summit meeting of local, state and federal officials to talk about the problems and needs of returning war veterans, and what should be done to help them. The Office of Veterans’ Affairs is the result of that meeting, and Army veteran Edwin “Buddy” Grantham is its first director. Grantham says veterans aren’t getting the level or quality of service and assistance they deserve, and his marching orders are to change that.
“A lot of this is to advocate on behalf of the veterans and their families, to make sure that they’re getting the services and benefits that were promised them.”
Grantham says much of the time a veteran’s problems with benefits are caused by miscommunication or no communication.
“The families are expecting one thing, and the VA perhaps may be thinking something else. Some of it is strictly information. I’ve gotten a large number of calls this past week from veterans or their family members that just don’t know where to go, and where to go seek information.”
Grantham says his office doesn’t provide the services, but he and his staff members know who does, and how veterans can find them. Any doubts he may have had about the need for his office disappeared on his first day on the job.
“My very first day in the office I had over 60 phone calls, two people that walked in the door and three e-mails.”
And he says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing, because there are so many veterans in the Houston area. Grantham says the Houston Office of Veterans Affairs is for all veterans and their families, peace time and war time, not just recent returning veterans, and they don’t have to live in Houston. There’s more information about this office and its director on our website KUHF.org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.