Two Glendale-based nonprofits partner to give veterans financial services

With help from a grant by Dignity Health, two Glendale nonprofits recently formed a partnership designed to provide more comprehensive services for military veterans and their families.

Wellness Works, a veterans’ health group, has operated in Glendale for more than 30 years and began hosting team members from the Glendale Communitas Initiative to provide career and financial education services to veterans earlier this month. The program, known as JumpStart, pairs vets with Wellness Works physical and mental-health services once a week.

Jason Schlatter, executive director of Glendale Communitas, said a number of veterans have already signed up to get help in receiving their VA benefits, finding jobs, writing resumes and financial planning.

“The fact that we had a full slate the opening week was great and, that all of them came back for the second week to further that work, I think was a really positive response,” Schlatter said. “Now it’s just about continuing on that work and helping these vets get to where they want to be.”

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Glendale Communitas opened its doors in 2015 to help the community’s chronically impoverished but waited until it had developed the right model before forming the recent partnership for veterans.

Wellness Works has for many years helped veterans such as Keith Gates, 75, who served in the U.S. Navy as a boiler tender during the Vietnam Era and has attended every JumpStart session so far.

“[Wellness Works] helps veterans with filling out their forms and everything to get their benefits,” Gates said. “They helped me — I’m now getting benefits from my 30% loss of hearing and 30% loss of my lungs because of fibrosis from being a boiler tender.”

Lisa Raggio, executive director of Wellness Works Glendale, said that she’s heard “very positive” feedback from the clients who have gone to the JumpStart courses and that the individually-tailored programs have been key to building financial confidence and independence.

“As long as [Glendale Communitas] will talk to me, I will go there,” Gates said. “When you get to be my age, you need all the help you can get.”

Both groups are currently looking for other grant opportunities so that they can continue the services for Glendale’s veterans.

Twitter: @JeffLanda