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Report: Executive Summary

This is a report on the 2015 Survey of NYC Veterans Policy Priorities, a survey that solicited responses to policy initiatives from NYC veterans, service members, family members, and service providers in early 2015.

 

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Report: Survey Methodology

From February 4 to March 13, 2015, the NYC Veterans Alliance and NY MetroVets invited veterans, service members, family members, service providers, and others connected to the veterans’ community in the New York Metropolitan area to take an online survey of their policy priorities for NYC government. The survey was disseminated via email and social media to as many NYC veterans and organizations as possible. In addition to NYC Veterans Alliance and NY MetroVets, organizations like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Army Week, Women Veterans and Families Network, the Military Resilience Project, and others promoted it to their membership. Several elected officials also distributed the survey to their constituents.

 

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Report: Who Responded to the Survey

Most of the survey’s 478 responses came from NYC, Long Island, Westchester, and other counties in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut that make up the New York Metropolitan area.  A total of 93.58% of respondents reported living in or within commuting distance to NYC. A smaller number reported living in the Albany area and on military bases in the U.S. and abroad. A total of 5.14% of respondents reported living outside of these areas. 

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Report: Veteran Responses

Veteran Service and Discharge Status. Of the veterans and currently-serving members of the military who responded, 97.96% indicated they received an honorable discharge for their service or are currently serving. A smaller number of veterans were discharged under conditions that were not characterized as honorable.

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Report: NYC Veterans Policy Priorities

The survey listed sixteen current or proposed NYC veterans policy initiatives, and respondents indicated strong support for all of them. Even the lowest number of responses indicating an initiative is essential or very important still represented a strong majority at 65.39%. Each initiative in the survey is listed below in order ranging from what respondents rated as most to least important.

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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: 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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