Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio
“Today we honor and give thanks to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation. These are men and women who answered the call of duty and who have traveled to the ends of the globe to protect freedom at home and abroad. For this sacred sacrifice, the 8.5 million Americans who call New York home will forever remain in the debt of their service.”
Statement from Brigadier General Loree Sutton (Ret.), Commissioner of the Department of Veterans’ Services
“The Department of Veterans’ Services honors the veterans of our beloved City and nation by strengthening the democracy and freedoms for which they have fought to protect – and for which our active duty military service members and families continue to defend every day. On this Veterans Day, we join all New Yorkers – veterans, their loved ones and the civilians who support them – in honoring those who have raised their right hand to defend our nation’s freedoms. The greatness of our country is truly a function of the goodness of our citizens, working together to achieve a more perfect union. We firmly believe that veterans and their families are extraordinary civic assets whose tested strengths and enduring commitment to service continue to reinforce the resilience of our communities and will greatly contribute to defining this next chapter of our nation’s history. To this end, the Department of Veterans’ Services and I proudly devote ourselves to improving the lives of each and every veteran in New York City, their families and their communities – today and every day. There simply is no greater privilege.”
The Department of Veterans’ Services has made tremendous strides in their first year as an agency by focusing on their three lines of action: Housing and Support Services; Integrative Health and Community Resilience; and Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship.
Housing and Support Services
Over the past few years, City agencies, landlords, and nonprofits and private partners have banded together to help end veteran homelessness in New York City. Together they have:
- Ended chronic veteran homelessness.
- Reduced overall veteran homelessness by over 90 percent in the last five years and 70 percent in the last two years alone.
- Built a rapid rehousing system for veterans that has reduced veterans’ length of stay in shelter by 50 percent.
The work doesn’t end there. The City’s commitment to ending veteran homelessness isn’t just about housing all of the veterans that are currently homeless – it’s also about doing all that the Administration can to decrease the number of veterans that become homeless and, for those that do, have a system and resources in place that can rapidly rehouse them.
This past year, City agencies have worked together with community partners to build out a network of prevention and aftercare support for veterans that the City housed. This includes:
- Dedicating a team of clinical social workers at DHS to work with veterans that need additional support once housed.
- Establishing an interagency working group with the VA and public and private partners to develop and implement best practices for homeless prevention work and identify and fill any gaps in the system.
- Launching the Veteran Transition Assistance Program at DVS, an aftercare program that assists both the veterans that have been recently housed and the landlords that have housed them.
Integrative Health and Community Resilience
The VetsThriveNYC Integrative Health Program is the veteran-focused complement to the First Lady’s ThriveNYC Mental Health Roadmap. The program includes the VetsThriveNYC City-wide consortium and the Core4 integrative health model, which incorporates clinical treatment, community holistic services, connection to peer social support and engagement through cultural initiatives, education and the arts. Access to VetsThriveNYC resources and services will be coordinated through the DVS portal VetsConnectNYC, a comprehensive service network comprised of 80 service providers.
Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship
As part of the agency’s first year priorities, DVS committed to creating satellite offices that serve as an accessible venue for veterans who may find it difficult to leave their borough to access services. Currently, DVS has established offices in Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Northern Manhattan with Brooklyn to follow. Many veterans identify that navigation is one of the barriers to accessing services. By establishing satellite offices in the outer-boroughs, DVS is working with borough leaders to better serve the City’s 200,000 veterans in their own communities, sending a powerful message to veterans that the City will go the distance to ensure they receive the resources they need.