Our Plan to Support Veterans

As your City Council member, I will fight for all New York City veterans, and their families, to have the resources and services they need to thrive in civilian life:
  • Continue to strengthen the Department of Veterans' Services so it can best serve our City's veterans.
  • Prioritize City funding and support for community based veteran-serving organizations.

Read more below...

The Issues

The issues facing our veterans hit close to home for me. My husband is an active Navy reservist, my brother served in the Army, and both of my brothers-in-law served as Marines. I have seen first hand the amount of sacrifice veterans, and their families, have made to keep us safe and I understand the immense challenge it can be for veterans to assimilate back to civilian life when exiting the service. 

 

New York City is home to almost 210,000 veterans, with 37,000 of them living in The Bronx. The veteran community is diversifying, as increasing numbers of people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community transition out of active duty. 

 

Veterans deal with lots of the same challenges that too many New Yorkers face, including mental health struggles, homelessness, food insecurity, and involvement with the justice system. Yet veterans also have unique challenges related to their service and reintegration. For instance, veterans with a history of homelessness are five times more likely to attempt suicide. Additionally, veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental overdoses of opioids.

 

Despite this, too often veterans are left out of policy conversations. Fortunately, NYC does have the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS)—the first standalone City agency in the country dedicated to serving veterans and their families, with oversight from an active City Council Committee on Veterans. Though DVS provides many critical services, there is still work to be done to effectively support this diverse group of individuals and their families. 

Our Solutions

To build back a Bronx that works for us all, we must ensure that all veterans have the right resources and the support they need, whenever and wherever they need it. 

 

In addition to DVS, we have many trusted, effective frontline organizations providing critical services to veterans and their families. For example, SAGEVets is a statewide program for LGBTQ+ vets that provides services such as Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit eligibility evaluations, legal counseling regarding discharge status, and support groups for older LGBTQ+ veterans. Another group, the Veterans Mental Health Coalition (VMHC) provides crisis services and community programs like “Another Way” which provides advocacy and support to adults in order to increase access to quality mental health care. These are just two of the many ways the NYC nonprofit community serves veterans, and these organizations deserve more public support.

 

As your City Council member, I will fight for all New York City veterans, and their families, to have the resources and services they need to thrive in civilian life:

 

Continue to strengthen DVS so it can best serve our City's veterans:
  • Make it easier for contracted veteran-serving organizations to procure and spend discretionary funds.

  • Enhance the department’s in-house capability to directly file and provide consultation on VA claims.

  • Ensure DVS  has capacity to coordinate rapid rehousing and assistance for homeless veterans and those at risk for homelessness. 

 

Prioritize City funding and support for community based veteran-serving organizations that work to: 
  • End veteran homelessness,

  • Provide comprehensive mental health services,

  • Foster economic empowerment, and

  • Expand assistance for justice-involved veterans.