Veterans’ Health

Grantee Name

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Inc.

Funding Area

Veterans’ Health

Publication Date

February 2017

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

May 2015 – November 2016

In response to ongoing challenges facing veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched its Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) for returning veterans and their families.

The program was designed to link veterans and their families to case managers and veteran-specific resources across New York City, providing broader access to benefits in a community setting. Services range from helping veterans and family members deal with depression and stress to connecting them to health care, mental health, legal, housing, and employment services. In 2013, NYHealth awarded IAVA a grant to double its capacity by expanding RRRP across New York State. In 2015, NYHealth awarded IAVA a second grant to further build upon the program’s expansion.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Served a total of 364 veterans over the grant period (149 in New York City and 215 from across the State). The original goal was to serve 400 veterans, which was subsequently reduced to 375;
  • Hosted 100 VetTogether events that reached more than 1,200 veterans and supporters in their communities across New York State;
  • Formed working relationships with 13 new veterans service providers; and
  • Hired an external consultant to conduct a long-term sustainability study examining ways to sustain RRRP and lay the groundwork for scaling it to meet the needs of New York State’s post-9/11 veterans.

As part of this project, IAVA aimed to (1) expand its outreach strategy to enhance its ability to deliver RRRP services to the growing number of New York State veterans and (2) complete a long-term sustainability study examining ways to sustain RRRP and make programmatic improvements.

IAVA struggled to meet some of its proposed targets throughout the State because of unforeseen staffing challenges and a greater demand for service referrals from post-9/11 veterans located outside of New York State. This resulted in increased national interest for RRRP, with IAVA hosting more than 600 outreach events across the county that led to many new memberships. Under the original goals of the NYHealth grant and specific to New York State, IAVA aimed to serve 400 veterans by referring them to community-based resources and services statewide. However, staffing issues, compounded with the increased national demand for RRRP services, led IAVA to modify this target number to 375. By the end of the grant period, it served 364 veterans in New York State and nationally.

To examine sustainability options for the program, IAVA hired a consultant to develop a plan to identify revenue streams to support RRRP and provide specific recommendations regarding the program’s future direction. Programmatic recommendations included building strong partnerships with other case management programs to better connect veterans and their families to high-quality resources and organizations in their communities. Financial sustainability recommendations included conducting more rigorous data collection and analysis of outcomes data to demonstrate the impact of the program to potential funders, as well as reaching out to community-based organizations or public agencies with existing programs to identify opportunities for collaboration and avoid duplication of services.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: IAVA was awarded a $10,000 capacity-building grant from the New York Community Trust.