Hacking to Help Vets

More than 59 percent of veterans feel they are unfamiliar with the benefits available to them, and 74 percent are interested in learning more about their benefits on the web. There is no simple, centralized place to access the more than 400,000 services, benefits, and opportunities dedicated to supporting veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s why, Bing is joining forces with The Feast Conference 2013 to take action to help veterans gain better access to resources dedicated to serving them. Together with The Feast, we will collaborate with a wide range of experts and contributors to help tackle this problem.

This is an area of significant need. The unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans is 36 percent higher than that of civilians. The suicide rate for veterans continues to rise , and more alarmingly the rate is growing twice as fast. Every 65 minutes, a veteran in the US commits suicide. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs is backlogged with more than 751,000 claims, 60 percent of which have been pending for longer than 125 days.

Our efforts begin this weekend, Oct 12-13, with a hackathon that serves as a prelude to our Veterans Challenge at The Feast Conference next week. Bing and The Feast have assembled a comprehensive set of resources and experts from a breadth of fields to come up with a working model to tackle this problem.We are working with some of the best organizations that serve veterans, including The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, Warrior Gateway, and Points of Light to research and brainstorm ways that technology could make the work they do to support veterans easier. We are providing experts from Bing in search and mapping to help participants leverage our own technologies through the Bing Developer Center to sort through the 400,000 benefits, services, and organizations dedicated to serving to veterans. We have also worked with leaders and decision makers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor who are committed to finding and furthering innovative technical solutions to veteran’s issues. We are bringing together some of New York City’s best developers and designers to use their talents to implement better solutions. As a collective group of talented minds, the hackathon hopes to produce a tangible technology solution that will help the veteran community discover resources available to them.

 

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Stay tuned for the results.

To help veterans in your own community, consider reaching out to some of the veteran service organizations with whom we have worked: The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, Points of Light, or Warrior Gateway.

- Anna S. Roth, Bing