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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Report: Veterans Hiring Preference for NYC Government

While it offers credits for veterans in civil service applications, NYC government does not currently have a comprehensive veterans hiring preference for employment that applies to all agency positions. A total of 87.08% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important. 

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Report: Establishing Veterans Treatment Court in Manhattan

First implemented in Buffalo, NY, in 2008, Veterans Treatment Courts seek to connect veterans in the criminal justice system as a result of untreated mental health conditions with treatment, benefits, and support to get them back on the right track.[1] Veterans Treatment Courts are currently operating in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens, and one is in the process of being established in Staten Island. There is currently no Veterans Treatment Court in Manhattan, with the exception of the Midtown Community Court, which has a Veterans Court for misdemeanors only within its catchment area.[2] A total of 86.41% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Creating NYC Department of Veterans Affairs

The City Council Veterans Committee has introduced a bill that would elevate the current Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) to an independent agency that would centralize oversight and management of veterans affairs in NYC and be accountable to both the Mayor and City Council. MOVA currently is only accountable to the Mayor. As of the release of this report, this bill is pending in committee. A total of 84.37% of respondents indicated this initiative was either essential or very important to them.

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Report: Making Veteran Businesses Competitive for NYC Contracts

Businesses must meet certain requirements in order to compete for and win bids for contracts with NYC government, and goals have been set for increased contracts for women and minority-owned businesses. Currently veteran-owned businesses are not in a competitive category for contracting with NYC government. A total of 80.82% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Placing Veterans Benefits Counselors in Each Borough

Advocates have suggested that veterans benefits counselors are needed as a government function to inform veterans contacting them of the often complex and time-intensive steps needed to file a disability claim with the VA, to access or utilize VA benefits locally, and to access NY State and NYC veterans benefits within the city. This initiative received strong support from survey respondents. A total of 80.24% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Including Veteran Status on NYC ID Cards

Earlier this year, NYC ID cards were launched, and the Mayor stated that veteran status would be included, although this has yet to be implemented. A total of 70.88% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Expanding Veteran Eligibility for Pension Buyback

Current law permitting honorably discharged veterans employed by NY State and NYC to purchase or “buy back” up to three years of credit toward their pension at a reduced rate presently excludes veterans who served during the post-1975 Cold War era, and in Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Legislation to update eligibility requirements is pending in the NY State legislature as of the release of this report. A total of 69.72% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Other Suggested Initiatives

Outside of the previously mentioned initiatives and suggestions, respondents offered the suggestions listed below.

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