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Testimony on Oversight of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs

Today at City Hall, the City Council Committee on Veterans, led by Council Member Eric Ulrich, was a hearing on oversight of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA). Commissioner Loree Sutton promised specifics, but did not deliver--unless we consider the litany of organizations and agencies she listed at length as having met with since September to be her promised specifics. She referred numerous times to a "strategic plan" for the administration to end veteran homelessness, to address veterans mental health, and to place veterans into good employment. But the Commissioner offered no specifics--no dedicated staff, no amount of funding, and no timelines--and no reference to any printed or published plan that citizens might expect to see from government officials.

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Testimony on Veterans Liaisons and NYC Employment of Veterans and Military Reservists

On April 29, Kristen L. Rouse testified at the City Council Veterans Committee hearing that discussed the oversight of Veterans Liaisons appointed by each NYC government agency. It was discussed at the hearing that the role of agency Veterans Liaisons is unclear. In 2013, when Mayor Bloomberg signed this requirement into law, he stated:
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Statement at Veterans Advisory Board Meeting

Last night was the first NYC Veterans Advisory Board meeting ever open to the public. We applaud the important reforms that led to this meeting, and to the appointment of new VAB members. Previous members of the VAB were present, as well as new members. The meeting was chaired by the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA), Loree Sutton.

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Tonight, 6:30 PM: Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) Meeting

If you can, please attend this evening’s meeting of the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) at the NYC Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan, Fifth Floor (Access to the building after 5pm is from 10 Hogan Place.). The meeting will begin as a closed session with previous appointees and those newly appointed, and the meeting opens its doors to the public at 6:30 pm.

Reform of the Veterans Advisory Board is something we pushed for with City Council, and we’re proud to have played a role in the

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Remarks at City Hall: NYC Veterans Alliance Calls on Mayor de Blasio to Be Our Mayor, Too

Remarks delivered by Kristen L. Rouse in front of City Hall on April 16, 2015:

New York City has an incredible history of taking pride in its military and veterans—from the battles fought on this soil in the American Revolution to the hundreds of thousands of troops who packed on crowded ships in New York Harbor, bound for wars overseas—to now being home of the largest Veterans Day parade in the country. New Yorkers have always been proud of their veterans—even providing City-subsidized housing like Peter Cooper Village in Stuyvesant Town, where tens of thousands of veterans returning from World War II and their families benefited from the City’s effort to welcome veterans home from war and integrate them as vital citizens of the greatest city in the world.

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NYC VETERANS UNITY RALLY

Fellow Veterans and Supporters,

I have an urgent request: If at all possible, please join me and other veteran advocates on the steps in front of City Hall TOMORROW, April 16th at 3:00PM for a rally to call on Mayor de Blasio, the City Council, and the rest of our City government to do more for NYC’s veterans. We’ll be present with IAVA, VFW, VVA, and other important advocates—and it’s vital that we show both unity and strength in numbers.

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Statement on New Appointees to the Veterans Advisory Board

This morning Mayor de Blasio will release the names of the new appointees to the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB), a long-overdue measure following important reforms passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio last month. While we are pleased to see fresh faces on the VAB--including our own NYC Veterans Alliance advisory board member, former Army combat medic and current student veteran advocate Samuel Innocent--we are disappointed that important veteran advocates from the NYC community are not represented among the appointees.

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Testimony on Veterans' Education Through SUNY Credits Act

On March 19, the NYC Veterans Alliance was honored to have Samuel Innocent testify in support of the NYC Council's resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign the Veterans' Education Through SUNY Credits Act. Innocent is a former Army sergeant and combat medic who has gone on to become an advocate for student veterans both as a student and now as a professional. He shared some of his powerful personal story in his testimony to illustrate the importance of legislation that ensures all NY State institutions properly grant credit where it is due for military education and experience.

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Samuel Innocent testifies before the NYC Council on March 19, 2015

 

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Survey & Success!

Just a few weeks ago, we launched the 2015 Survey of NYC Veterans Policy Priorities, and we are well over 400 responses thus far. We’re hoping for even more, so we’re keeping the survey open until Friday, March 13.

 

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Statement at City Council Speaker's Press Conference

Success!! Yesterday the NYC Council passed three bills (Ints. 611, 619, & 600) that the NYC Veterans Alliance pushed for, discussed at length, and testified on earlier this month. This was a proud day for us, and we were invited to attend Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's press conference on these important reforms. Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone all spoke in detail on these bills that they helped to develop with community input, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito introduced Kristen Rouse to speak as a veteran advocate who helped with pushing these bills toward their final passage yesterday.

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Kristen Rouse speaking at City Hall alongside Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone.

 

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