Today the NYC Council released the finalized Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the City of New York, which contains important wins for veterans and families! Here are the highlights:
WE WON ON PROVE!
Our Efforts Succeeded! The Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE) which currently serves student veterans on 10 CUNY campuses, has been funded for yet another year by the NYC Council. This was not fully assured just a few days ago--but thanks to the joint efforts of the CUNY Office of Veterans Affairs, direct action by CUNY campuses, our partnership with PROVE staff, and the 244 individuals who signed our petition--PROVE will be funded at the same level as last year, enabling student veterans to continue receiving the unique one-on-one support of this vital program. Thanks to everyone who took the time to sign our petition, write a letter or email, or make a phone call in support of PROVE--you were heard!
Delivery of our petition supporting PROVE at City Hall
REDUCED RATE METROCARDS
Veteran Inclusion in Fair Fares. As part of the landmark inclusion of "Fair Fares" this week into the finalized budget, approximately 800,000 New Yorkers living below the poverty line will be eligible for half-price MetroCards. This is a tremendous benefit for New Yorkers most in need of relief from transit fares, and it will also include the more than 12,000 veterans enrolled in colleges in NYC.
This tremendous win comes as a result of years of advocacy by our friends at the Riders Alliance and a number of other transit and community advocates. Congrats to all involved in this effort! And stay tuned as we learn further information on how you and your family will be able to take advantage of this needed relief!
$1 MILLION INCREASE IN COUNCIL VETERANS INITIATIVE
Veterans & Families an Increasing Priority. Thanks to our active community of advocates for veterans and families, NYC government is again prioritizing the resourcing and welfare of veterans and our families. As the NYC Department of Veterans' Services continues to grow under an increased budget of more than $4.6 million, the Council has increased its discretionary funds for organizations serving veterans to a total of $2.3 million--an increase of $1 million more than last year. This is welcome news and a boon to the work of a broad range of organizations offering services, support, and opportunities for NYC veterans and families. The full listing of allocations for the Council's discretionary funding can be viewed HERE.
OUR CONTINUED COMMITMENT
These wins are crucial, but will only be effective with the continued involvement of our community. You have our full commitment that NYC Veterans Alliance staff and members will remain vigilant and engaged in the policies and activities of our local government, as well as the functioning of our state and federal agencies serving veterans and our families. We are continuing to push our 2018 Action Agenda, and we welcome your support and involvement as we continue this work in the months and years to come!