Military Communities Council Holds First Official Meeting at Congressional City Conference

March 15, 2013

By Alison Clark

The Military Communities Council kicked off its first official meeting as an NLC member council at the 2013 Congressional City Conference on Tuesday morning, March 12th.  Council Chairman, Tom Reardon, Council Member from Sierra Vista, Arizona, opened the meeting with review and discussion of the council mission statement, purpose, and goals for 2013, all of which were approved.

The Council then heard from Heather Pritchard, Manager of National Partnerships and Atlanta Hometown Giving for the Home Depot Foundation, an NLC Capstone Corporate Partner.  Ms. Pritchard discussed the Foundation’s renewed commitment to ensuring all veterans have a place to call home with their additional pledge of $50 million over three years. This additional commitment comes after the Foundation’s initial investment of $30 million was expended in nearly two years.

To help guide their commitment, the Foundation will be working with members of the Military Communities Council to identify potential projects supporting veterans in their cities that could benefit from funding.  In particular, the Foundation is hoping to invest in communities which are having broader conversations regarding systematic changes to improve service coordination and delivery.

Elisha Harig-Blaine with NLC’s Center for Research & Innovation provided updates on the work happening in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation.  In Houston, TX, NLC is engaging with multiple federal, state, and local stakeholders regarding how to improve the delivery of programs offering assistance for housing rehabilitation and/or retrofit needs.  In Tacoma, WA, NLC is working with stakeholders around how to improve service delivery and coordination for homeless veterans.

Finally, the Council learned about Section 331 of the FY2013 Defense Policy Bill on Intergovernmental Support Agreements with State and Local Governments.  Sean McGraw from NLC Corporate Partner Weston Solutions explained that Section 331 allows for and encourages shared services between military installations and municipalities.  Specifically, the section states:  “The Secretary concerned may enter into an intergovernmental support agreement with a State or local government to provide, receive, or share installation-support services if the Secretary determines that the agreement will serve the best interests of the department by enhancing mission effectiveness or creating efficiencies or economies of scale, including by reducing costs.” Todd Herberghs from the Association of Defense Communities shared several examples from cities where shared services agreements were already implemented and are successful.  The council shared numerous ideas of their own and agreed to put together a resource on a range of ideas that military communities could implement.

If you would like further information and/or would like to join this group, please contact Alison Clark at aclark@nlc.org.