MEDIA RELEASE: Ahead of Memorial Day, report shows NC's need to commit to policy choices to help living veterans, service members

Report discusses how to keep North Carolina a military-friendly state by addressing joblessness, hunger, homelessness and health care issues for our service members, veterans and their families

RALEIGH (May 24, 2017) – As North Carolina prepares to honor our fallen military forces this weekend, it’s also worth bringing attention to those veterans and service members in our state who are living with issues of joblessness, hunger, homelessness and health care. These issues are ones that could be addressed with public policy choices by N.C. lawmakers, which are spelled out in “BTC BRIEF: N.C. needs good public policy choices to support its veterans and service members,” a new report from the Budget & Tax Center (BTC).

“Thousands of North Carolina veterans struggle daily with unemployment, homelessness, hunger and the lack of health insurance,” said Luis Toledo, BTC Policy Analyst and a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force. “Calling attention to these shortcomings and addressing them with sound public policy is the best salute we can offer to our heroes.”

The report, co-written by Toledo and BTC Policy Analyst William Munn, discusses how many veterans, service members and their families are struggling in North Carolina.

“If North Carolina truly wants to be a military-friendly state, it needs to make choices that protect the people who have worked to protect all of us,” said Munn.

The report discusses possible solutions to the following problems that affect many of the more than 775,000 veterans and 129,000 active duty personnel in North Carolina:

  • Unemployment: There are about 18,000 unemployed veterans in N.C. Veterans who live in rural counties are especially finding it difficult to find a job.
  • Homelessness: Veterans represent 12 percent of North Carolina’s adult homeless population.
  • Hunger: Nearly 1.5 million veterans are at-risk of becoming homeless and going hungry in the nation. In North Carolina, the reinstatement last year of the time-limit on SNAP hurt non-disabled, childless adults, including our jobless veterans.
  • Lack of health care: Not all veterans get health care benefits through the VA, and the ones who do in rural areas often have trouble accessing care. North Carolina could help cover nearly 80 percent of North Carolina’s uninsured veterans by increasing Medicaid and assistance gap coverage.

Read the full report here.

For more information, contact Luis Toledo, BTC Policy Analyst, at 919-861-1451 or luist@ncjustice.org; or Mel Umbarger, BTC Senior Communications Specialist, at mel@ncjustice.org.

The Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, conducts non-partisan analysis of state budget and tax policy and monitors economic conditions in the state. We produce timely and accessible research that contributes to policy discussions and public debate, with the goal of building a broader understanding of the role of policy in supporting economic opportunity for all. Follow us on Twitter @ncbudgetandtax for updates on state budget and tax policy issues.

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