Change is Essential: Report on the 2015 Survey of NYC Veterans Policy Priorities

The NYC Veterans Alliance is pleased to announce the release of our new report:

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Report: Linking 311 with VA Suicide Hotline

Advocates have proposed that NYC’s 3-1-1 information system directly connect suicidal veterans who dial the system to the federally-funded VA Suicide Hotline. This initiative received the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 95.39% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Vetting Organizations That Receive NYC Funds

Advocates have proposed that veteran service organizations (VSOs) receiving NYC tax dollars to provide services to veterans should be held accountable for the services they provide and to NYC veterans spanning across all demographic groups and generations of service. This initiative ranked second in receiving the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 94.26% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Improving Services for Homeless Veterans

Advocates have proposed that NYC agencies work more effectively to provide outreach, services, housing, and tracking of veterans who are homeless on the streets, in shelters, living in their cars, in temporary housing situations (with friends or family members), or hidden away on rooftops and other out-of-sight areas throughout NYC because they have nowhere else to call home. This initiative ranked third in receiving the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 94.13% of respondents indicated that they view improving homeless services as either essential or very important.

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Report: Increasing NYC's Budget for Veterans

Last year, the city allocated funding for the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) and City Council discretionary funds, in the form of contracts with organizations serving veterans, with a total of just over $700,000[1] in NYC tax dollars allocated for veterans affairs and services in Fiscal Year 2015. This initiative ranked fourth in receiving the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 91.0% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Coordinating with VA Healthcare

Many NYC veterans are satisfied with the quality of healthcare they receive from VA medical facilities, while others report difficulties with VA healthcare, as noted on page 9 of this report. The results of this survey are consistent with the national veterans population, of which less than half of eligible veterans  are enrolled in the VA healthcare system and approximately one quarter of eligible veterans actively seek health care from the VA.[1] This initiative ranked fifth in receiving the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 88.95% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Inclusive Definition of "Veteran"

Advocates have proposed that NYC define “veteran” as any person who has served in the military and received a DD214, regardless of status or circumstance of discharge, in order to make services available to those who may have been adversely discharged as a result of unrecognized and/or untreated physical or mental conditions related to their military service. This initiative met with the strongest disapproval, with 14.25% of survey respondents indicating that they oppose it. Nevertheless, a strong majority of 67.39% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Integrating Aging Veterans Into NYC Services

Aging New Yorkers are eligible for numerous NYC services, although in most cases aging NYC veterans are not tracked or treated differently because of their military service, even if they have specific needs and conditions as a result of their service. A total of 88.52% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Reforming the Veterans Advisory Board

In February 2015, following the start of this survey, the City Council passed legislation to reform the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) by expanding the number of appointees, providing clearer guidance on the role of VAB members, and mandating greater transparency in the meetings and activities of the VAB. Shortly thereafter, the bills were signed as Local Laws 24 and 25,[1] and new members of the VAB were appointed by both the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council.[2] Strong support by survey respondents for this initiative was noted at the time the bill was under consideration. A total of 80.68% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Tracking and Reporting Veterans Receiving NYC Services

In February 2015, following the start of this survey, the City Council passed legislation to mandate the tracking and reporting of veterans served by NYC agencies. Shortly thereafter, the bill was signed as Local Law 23. Strong support by survey respondents for this initiative was noted at the time the bill was under consideration. A total of 87.47% of respondents indicated this initiative was either essential or very important to them.

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