DENVER Social-service providers and civic leaders in Colorado Springs are starting the Peak Military Care Network to make it easier for military personnel, veterans and their families to find the help they need.
The network will launch a pilot program in January to improve communication among service providers and to expand and promote its website, which catalogs a wide range of services.
The idea is to create a central service that allows people to see the full spectrum of help available including health care, housing, employment, education, legal services and more and allow individual service providers to see what others are doing, said Kate Hatten, executive director of the Peak Military Care Network.
Service providers will be able to give their clients a more comprehensive idea of what help they can get instead of saying, Heres a phone number, good luck, said Hatten, who is also the military impact planning program manager for Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.
The network has been in the works for months and its website is in place. Use of the website reached 400,000 hits in the July-September 2012 quarter, up from 97,000 hits in the same period a year earlier.
Site usage has quadrupled since when we launched with, frankly, very little outreach, Hatten said.
The network received a $200,000 grant in December from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on health and health care. The money will be used to establish and expand the network and develop an outreach program, among other things.
Hatten estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 service members, veterans and their family members live in the Colorado Springs area, which includes five military installations: Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.
Eduardo Baller of Colorado Springs, an Army veteran who left the service in July because of a spinal injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, said the network will make it easier for people like him to find the help they need.
Baller, 22, said he could have used the network when he was looking for work after his discharge and for legal help after he was in a car wreck.
It would have made my life so much easier, I guarantee it, said Baller, who now works as a telemarketer while attending Pikes Peak Community College.