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LEGAL AND POLITICAL ADVOCACY

HEALING THE WOUNDS OF WAR
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“My discharge status has been a lifetime scar. If I were discharged today, my PTSD would be recognized and treated—and I wouldn’t be punished for having a service-connected medical condition." said Plaintiff Conley Monk

NVCLR provides opportunities to veterans with less than honorable discharges.  The National Veterans Council for Legal Redress (NVCLR), is a service organization impacting Veterans’ lives since 1982.  NVCLR's main focus is to enrich the lives of Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that between 10% and 30% of Veterans suffer from PTSD (the number varies by service era).   While PTSD is now a well-known mental health condition, it was not classified as an official diagnosis until 1980.  For many veterans who received other than honorable discharges, otherwise known as “bad papers”, questions remain about the initial justification.  Was the punishable behavior instead a symptom of an undiagnosed disease?  NVCLR helps veterans get to the root of this question, and if a PTSD diagnosis is made, assists them through the process of upgrading their discharge. 

Veterans with bad paper discharges are generally ineligible for most benefits from the VA--including housing assistance.  The Department of Defense reports that Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless when compared to Americans in general--one in every 168 Veterans.  A major contributing factor is PTSD.  

The mission of NVCLR is threefold.  First, we must educate the public with respect to the treatment of Veterans with less than honorable discharges and to work toward society’s acceptance of such Veterans.  Second, we provide direct assistance to Veterans and their families who are suffering as a result of a less than honorable status by assisting in obtaining employment, medical and educational benefits, as well meals, clothing, transportation, and housing.  Finally, NVCLR provides training and technical assistance to other nonprofit organizations who support Veterans. 

Studies show that servicemembers of color received disproportionate punishment within the military justice system—resembling inequities which have led to the disproportionate criminalization of people of color in the civilian criminal system.  The impact of a less than honorable discharge can follow a servicemember for their whole life.  

NVCLR connects Veterans to a host of opportunities, such as vocational support, medical and educational benefits, as well as meals, clothing, transportation, and affordable housing. Currently, NVCLR wishes to construct an accessible, energy-efficient, multi-family unit for low-income Veterans with disabilities in the City of New Haven.  Want to join me in making a difference?