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Los Angeles Vets Push For Reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 18, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, will meet with local vets and hear about their experiences with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Los Angeles, CA.

IAVA also will be informing vets about the Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), a new approach to supporting post-9/11 veterans by directly connecting them and their families to local resources and to one-on-one support with IAVA’s Veteran Transition Managers. RRRP helps cut through red tape and provides California post-9/11 veterans and their families with access to services ranging across employment, education, housing, mental health and more.

Veterans can contact a California RRRP case manager by calling 855-91-RAPID (855-917-2743), emailing transition@iava.org, or visiting www.IAVA.org/RRRP.

On Thursday, June 19 at 7:30pm PT, IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff will attend a membership even at El Compadre where he will discuss IAVA’s eight-step plan for restoring confidence within the VA, and the Campaign to Combat Suicide.

Local vets can RSVP here to the membership event. Press is invited to attend.

There are more than 1,800,000 California veterans, including more than 237,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Los Angeles veterans face a number of critical challenges. In California, as well as across the country, suicide is a top concern for new veterans: at least 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

More than 283,000 veterans are stuck in the VA backlog, including more than 9,000 in the Los Angeles regional office, who are waiting more than 125 days for a claim. The average wait time in Los Angeles is 178.1 days.

As part of the “We’ve Got Your Back: IAVA’s Campaign to Combat Suicide” IAVA is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive legislation expanding mental health care for veterans and ensuring that they have extended access to that care. IAVA is pushing for bipartisan support for The Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act (SAV Act) – historic legislation introduced in March by U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana, the first Iraq War combat vet to serve in the Senate.

IAVA is also demanding President Obama issue an Executive Order that addresses the problem that often plagues coordination of records and care between the Department of Defense and the VA, and to appoint a National Director of Suicide Prevention.

Membership Event

WHAT: IAVA VetTogether, where local post-9/11 veterans from the Los Angeles-area will meet with CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff

WHO: Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA CEO and Founder

Los Angeles-area post-9/11 veterans

WHEN: Thursday, June 19 at 7:30 pm PDT

WHERE: El Compadre, 1258-1298 S Figuero St., Los Angeles, CA 90015

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.