Veterans benefits, information you really need to know

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Veterans and their families gathered together to get the latest information for veterans' benefits.  The meetings were held at various locations including Post 551 on Enterprise Blvd in Lake Charles, La.

Marialisa Edwards, Veteran of Operation OEF says, "There is a lot of information out there but for the older veterans, especially Vietnam veterans and older, that information is not readily available. They don't get on the internet quite as much as some of us [younger] do, so there needs to be another forum".

Roy Weldon, Commander 7321 VFW in Lake Charles says he plans on holding many more of these information sessions in the near future.

There are 297,700 veterans in the state of Louisiana. And some of these veterans face a myriad of issues including healthcare and homelessness.  Because of these issues, people like Christy Callens of SWLA War Veterans Home and Danna Bolderon and Wilfred Gallien Jr. of Department of Veterans Affairs in Alexandria, LA came in to speak.

Callens says that the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home is a quality facility available to veterans for end of life care. Spouses of veterans and Gold Star parents are now eligible to go to the home as well.  It is essentially a nursing home that doesn't take medicaid.  Independent veterans who still drive and have their own vehicles are welcome.

The Dept. of VA in Alexandria announced their 5 year initiative to end homelessness. They have put a Homeless Veterans Employment Program in place.

Wilfred Gallien Jr. is the homeless program specialist. He shared his own very personal story of being homeless just 7 years ago. Now he has a Masters degree and looking forward to his Doctorate.  The Web Extra will have his entire testimony along with officials commenting on the veterans benefits and contact information.