TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced an expansion of Hope Florida to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA). Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots will support veterans by connecting them to services, earned benefits and community resources through Hope Navigators. Unique to this expansion, Hope Navigators will coordinate with FDVA’s Veterans’ Claims Examiners to assist veterans in navigating their benefits. FDVA serves the nation’s third-largest veteran population and operates as the premier point of entry for Florida’s 1.5 million veterans.
“As a veteran and Governor of the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation, I am proud of the work we do to support our veterans and their families,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As a state and nation, we owe a great debt to those who have served and sacrificed for our freedom, and this expansion is a testament to our commitment to providing a pathway forward for Floridians who wore the uniform.”
“In Florida, we are proud to support the courageous American heroes who have given so much in service to our country,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “When Florida veterans come home, we want to ensure that they can access services, community resources and support navigating their benefits in a streamlined and accessible way. I am proud that through Hope Floridia – Pathway to Patriots, Hope Navigators can provide one-on-one assistance and show our state’s deep appreciation.”
“We are honored to join First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hope Florida initiative,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell. “Because of this administration’s passionate focus on veterans’ advocacy, Florida continues to be the most veteran sought-after and veteran-friendly state in the nation. Our department looks forward to the many ways that through Hope Florida we will better be able to connect Florida veterans and their families to supports and benefits available through government and the local community.”
“Those who have valiantly served our nation and ensured our freedoms deserve the utmost respect and support during their time of need,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “First Lady DeSantis has been a stalwart champion for Floridians’ best interests, as evidenced by the over 78,000 children and families who have benefited from Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity. I am thrilled for Hope Florida’s expansion to include these real-life heroes who, along with their spouses and children, made incredible sacrifices to defend our great nation and protect its citizens.”
Veterans and their families who need services can connect with Hope Florida by visiting HopeFlorida.com or calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).
Hope Florida, launched by First Lady DeSantis in 2021 has been implemented by multiple agencies including, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Guardian ad Litem Office. This initiative utilizes Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity and economic self-sufficiency by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize support and uncover opportunities. These Hope Navigators are essential in helping individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to prosperity, develop long-term goals, map out a strategic plan and work to ensure all sectors of the community have a ‘seat at the table’ to be a key part of the solution. In addition, Hope Navigators help identify and organize opportunities for Floridians who wish to help their neighbors by connecting community members, including Florida seniors, with volunteer and mentorship opportunities.
For more information on Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots, visit www.HopeFlorida.com.