EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Helping connect local veterans with the specific services they need is the goal of a four-year-old organization.

In many ways, this website has reprogrammed the way veterans in need can get the help they deserve.

Vet Connect is a one-stop shop for finding the resources that meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans: Housing, jobs, shelter, food banks, and financial advice.

And it cuts out a lot of middlemen. Vet Connect has staff living and working in NEPA communities, so veterans don’t have to spend days waiting for assistance.

“It gives you the phone number, zip code, and address of all the resources in your community and your county, you can pick up the phone and call your county director and ask them “Where do I go for help” and it links them up and an individual will answer at all times,” explained Maureen Weigl, PA Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Part of the work is done through the regional program outreach coordinators. There are two in NEPA.

In one case, an army veteran lost his job because of COVID-19. The outreach coordinator was able to get a grant of 16 hundred dollars to help him stay afloat financially. In another case, a veteran in Allegheny County living in a homeless shelter needed a bike to commute to college classes. A local service organization got the man a bicycle the next day.

“Fight for Vets” in Scranton is another good example of a service organization working with Vet Connect.

“It’s a small but mighty non-profit in the Scranton area that provides financial help to vets in need. Our regional program coordinator there was working with that organization and making connections to ensure several of our clients for vets were getting the financial assistance they need,” said Joel Mutschler, PA Dept. of Military and Veteran Affairs.

And that assistance includes wheelchairs, ramps, and rent. Many veterans simply don’t know help is available. Vet Connect will put them in direct contact with people who can get the job done.

For more information, visit the PA Vet Connect Website.