Wins for Veterans & Families in FY 2020 City Budget

nocuts2.jpgNYC's Fiscal Year 2020 budget has #NoCutsforVets! Thanks to the sustained advocacy of our members and community partners, the newly released budget for NYC's Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) is increased by $77,500 rather than cut, as had been proposed by Mayor de Blasio in January and again in April of this year. This will fund our city's newest independent agency with a budget of $5.3 million in FY 2020 and keep it on track for continued growth, outreach, and impacts on the lives of veterans and their families. Please contact DVS at 212-416-5250 with your questions or to get help for yourself or a veteran you know. Veterans and family members can also request help through the city's online service network, VetConnectNYC.

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Defending Student Veterans in NYC

presser_300.jpgUPDATE: This legislation has been passed (Intro 1047-2018 Version A) as of May 29, 2019. It is awaiting signature by the Mayor. Thanks to all who stood with us on this important local measure!

Last July, we stood with Public Advocate Tish James as she introduced a bill to the NYC Council to ensure city government provides support to student veterans and holds exploitive for-profit colleges accountable if they fail to deliver quality education to veterans using their GI Bill educational benefits. Video of that press conference is HERE and our statement of support for the bill's introduction is HERE.

On December 13, 2018, that bill at last was brought to a joint hearing of the Council's Committees on Veterans and Higher Education. Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy Sam Molik delivered testimony on behalf of the Alliance. His testimony is below:

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Mayor de Blasio Meets with Veterans - in Las Vegas

deblasio_lasvegas.jpgToday, the NYC Veterans Alliance responded to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential campaign meeting with veterans in Nevada, asserting that he has never held a similar meeting with NYC veterans during his administration, and further noting that his current Executive Budget proposes to cut $118,000 from services for veterans and families.  

In March, NYC Veterans Alliance members and community partners, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Veterans Advocacy Project, rallied with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council Members Kallos and Gjonaj expressing outrage against proposed cuts to veterans’ services in both city and state budgets. The NYC Veterans Alliance has pressed numerous Council Members to ensure NYC prioritizes funding for the services it provides to veterans and families across the five boroughs.

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Fighting the Ban on Transgender Military Service

UPDATE: On April 12, 2019, the ban on transgender members of the military has been reinstated, reversing the 2016 policy permitting servicemembers to serve openly, regardless of their gender identity. Openly transgender servicemembers face bars to reenlistment, promotions, job assignments, and potentially discharge. New recruits who are openly transgender are barred from enlistment or commissioning in the military. This impacts an estimated 13,000-15,000 currently serving troops, and the families who rely on them. It further sends the message to veterans and their families that the service and sacrifices of transgender veterans and their families is unrecognized and unappreciated. NYC Veterans Alliance renews its commitment to ALL those who have served our nation in uniform in opposing this ban and advocating to ensure all who serve receive the honor, recognition, services, and benefits they have rightfully earned. 

 

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We Did It! Preserving Lifesaving PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Program for Veterans in New York State!

 

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3/31/19 UPDATE: Thanks to you taking action these last few days, today the New York State legislature put forward an appropriations bill that FULLY FUNDS the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Services Peer-to-Peer program, avoiding deep cuts that seemed imminent only hours ago. This means veterans at risk for suicide in counties across New York State will continue to benefit from the support of peer mentors and their community. We further urge state legislators to continue investing in and expanding this young, successful program in the months and years to come.

Special thanks to each and every one of our community members who reached out to Governor Cuomo and NYS legislators--and thanks also to backup from our community partners at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America who had our backs on this! We are also grateful for the legislators and advocates across the state who spoke up to protect this vital program, including NYC-based Assembly Members Felix Ortiz and Nicole Malliotakis. 

 

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Opposing Budget Cuts for NYC Veterans' Services

190314.jpgOn Thursday, March 14, 2019, we presented testimony before the NYC Council's Committee on Veterans regarding oversight of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the NYC Department of Veterans' Services. Our testimony featured opposition to Mayor de Blasio's proposal to cut $63k from the budget, as well as concerns about staffing, accountability, and support from the Council. 

Below is the testimony presented:

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2019 Public Advocate Special Election Voter Guide

rallypic.jpgOn Tuesday, February 26th, 2019, New York City will elect the next Public Advocate. The office of Public Advocate is one of three citywide elected officials, and is the first in line to succeed the Mayor. It is the role of the Public Advocate to champion the public and ensure government is responsive to its needs. In recent years, the office has included a veterans’ liaison and taken on key roles and legislation to improve the lives of NYC veterans and families.

The NYC Veterans Alliance presents this Voter Guide for informational purposes to our community. We contacted candidates eligible to stand in the Special Election scheduled for February 26, 2019, and solicited their responses on key questions of concern to our membership. This Guide makes no endorsement; candidates are listed in the order in which they responded.

View this Voter Guide as a PDF by clicking HERE.

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Update: Pay Our Defenders!

coastguard.jpgIf you serve in four branches of our nation's uniformed services--the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force--you are receiving pay during the current federal shutdown. But if you're serving in uniform in the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and NOAA to defend New York Harbor and other areas of our nation and national interests across the globe--you aren't receiving pay during the shutdown. In NYC especially, that's a severe hardship for you and your family. Our defenders shouldn't be forced to suffer because of political turmoil in Washington, DC.

Last Monday, we called on on Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and the NYC Congressional delegation to immediately pass legislation to pay all of our nation's uniformed service members, to include those who defend our own city and our harbor.

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Update: Fair Fares for Student Veterans

fairfares.jpgLast June, Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the "Fair Fares" policy would go into effect on January 1, 2019, providing half-price Metrocards for approximately 800,000 New Yorkers in need of transit fare relief, to include more than 12,000 veterans enrolled in NYC colleges. It's now the second week of January--where are Fair Fares for student vets?

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2018 Champion Advocate: Rep. Dan Donovan

 

20180601_103825.jpgAt our Holiday Mixer on December 17, 2018, we honored Congressman Dan Donovan as our 2018 Champion Advocate. As Representative of New York's 11th Congressional District, Congressman Donovan has held regular roundtables with veterans of his district and has also been quick to respond when veterans have raised concerns about the NY VA Harbor Healthcare System's Brooklyn Campus located in his district. 

 

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