New York is home to more than 200,000 veterans, representing service eras from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. We have a moral obligation to recognize their brave service to our country by ensuring that they can live independent, rewarding lives upon their return to the City and civilian life. With the Council leading the way, New York City has established itself as a national leader in serving veterans and their families.
“Thanks to the Council’s commitment to substantially increasing funding as part of the Veterans Initiative, NYLAG will be able to greatly increase the number of veterans we can help.”
Beth Goldman, New York Legal Assistance Group
In 2015, we passed historic legislation to establish an agency specifically dedicated to supporting service members and their families. The Department of Veterans’ Services will be a one-stop shop for veterans in New York City and will connect military families with benefits and programs designed to help veterans transition back to civilian life.
For too long, veterans’ services were critically underfunded. Under Speaker Mark-Viverito, we successfully negotiated with the Administration to double funding for the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, which supported the hiring of Veterans Service Officers to serve all five boroughs and connect veterans with the benefits and resources earned through their service.
To address the wide ranging needs of veterans and their families, the Council allocated $940,000 for our Veterans Services Initiative. This funding supported programs for homeless prevention, job placement and transition services, legal help, mental health support, and community development.
The Veterans Advisory Board provides a vital link between our veterans’ community and City government by lending an ear to their concerns and advising the Mayor and the Council on how to address their needs. In 2015, to make the Board more accessible and accountable, the Council passed legislation which brought the Board into local communities by requiring public meetings in each borough and giving each member a publicly available email address to allow them greater engagement with veterans.