Results of survey to assess needs of Jacksonville-area veterans, their families released

Those who conducted the survey said only a few of those surveyed were from Northwest Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over a quarter of the people living in Jacksonville are in the military or a veteran, and their needs are a crucial part of city government. That’s why one national group conducted a survey in Northeast Florida to let city leaders know what next steps need to be taken to help veterans.

The results of that survey were released at an event Tuesday. In the report, News4JAX learned an important segment of Jacksonville did not respond: the Northwest portion of the city.

In August, Endeavors, a Texas-based group dedicated to helping veterans, announced, with the help of local government, it was looking to expand and possibly build a new veterans wellness center in Jacksonville to serve all of Northeast Florida. To make that happen, the survey was conducted, and 1,457 veterans or their families responded online.

They said these are their top concerns:

  • Dental Services
  • Help with Veterans Affairs claims
  • Rent or mortgage assistance

The majority of those surveyed were mostly white males over the age of 60. Those who conducted the survey said only a few of those surveyed were from the Northwest portion of the city.

READ: 2022 Northeast Florida Veteran & Family Needs Assessment Final Report

News4JAX went to the area on Tuesday and had no problem finding veterans like Joe Siplin who wanted to talk about their needs.

“Medical care, homelessness, a lot of them need a place to stay,” Siplin said.

Veteran Herman Mitchel agrees. He said some efforts should have been made to include this area of Jacksonville.

“l’m really surprised because we got a whole gang of us. I know quite a few veterans,” Mitchel said. “I go along with Joe, what Joe said. We really need dental and mental health.”

Their needs may be similar, but these veterans are worried their voices are not being heard, particularly if there is a new government-funded facility that will be built in Jacksonville to help. They hope to have a say.

News4JAX also talked with Tracey Bradley of Operation New Uniform, a veterans group that helps younger vets. He was at Tuesday’s event and said he was also surprised at the lack of voices from Northwest Jacksonville.

“It’s rough that, that whole quadrant got missed. I don’t understand how. I’m going to do a more of a deep dive into the survey,” Bradley said.

Those with Endeavor, the group that conducted the survey, said this is just a start. They do plan to go into much more detail and research the areas that were missed.

The mayor’s office said it was just there to help and no decision has been made on any plans to build a veteran’s center, or if that happens, what group could be involved.

The Jacksonville Urban League is also looking at the possibility of building a new veterans help center. It has received a $2 million grant from the federal government but will need the city to match some of the investment. No one from the Urban League was available to respond to Tuesday about the survey.

Click here for more information about the survey.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.