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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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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2018 Champion Sustainer: Craig Newmark

 

craig.jpgAt our Holiday Mixer on December 17, 2018, we honored Craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark as our 2018 Champion Sustainer. This year, Craig renewed his support for the NYC Veterans Alliance with a landmark sustaining gift of $150,000, which has made a profound impact as we grow into our fourth year of connecting our community and advancing veterans and families as civic leaders in NYC and beyond. 

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Ensuring the Right Support for Veterans with 'Bad Paper'

 

On November 26th, 2018, our Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy, Sam Molik, testified before the NYC Council Committees on Veterans in a hearing on Introductions 1218 and 479, which propose to create a discharge upgrade assistance unit at the Department of Veterans’ Services and offer discharge upgrade assistance and extending city veteran benefits to service members who were discharged because of their LGBTQ status.

Below is his testimony:

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Inclusion of Aging Veterans in City Mental Health Services

 

181119_testimony_2.jpgOn November 19th, 2018, our Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy, Sam Molik, testified before the NYC Council Committees on Aging and Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction in an oversight hearing on mental wellness in older adults.

The hearing also considered Introduction 1180, which would require caseworkers providing services at senior centers to complete the mental health first aid training course for older adults offered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and to complete a refresher training course at least once every three years.

Below is his testimony:

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NYC Veterans Alliance Advances Naming of 'Margaret Corbin VA Medical Center'

 

300_presser.jpgThe NYC Veterans Alliance has announced that U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) are introducing legislation to name the Manhattan VA as the 'Margaret Corbin VA Medical Center' in honor of the first woman veteran who fought and was wounded in combat in the U.S. Armed Forces.

On November 16th, 2018, members of the NYC Veterans Alliance "ruck" marched more than 12 miles from the historic Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan to Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights to commemorate Margaret Corbin's bravery in the Battle of Fort Washington, which took place on November 16th, 1776. At the conclusion of their march, the NYC Veterans Alliance held a press conference announcing that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney are introducing legislation to name the Manhattan VA in honor of Margaret Corbin.

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Ensuring the Right Oversight of City Services for Veterans

 

300_testimony_181029.jpgOn October 29, 2018, NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony before the NYC Council Committee on Veterans in a hearing on oversight of ensuring veteran access to City-administered services. The hearing also considered Introduction 1118, which would require the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) to submit an annual report to the council including specific personnel and performance indicators. Specifically, DVS would be required to report on the number of employees serving in each title within the agency as well as the services provided by each title. In addition, this report would include an accounting of the number of veterans who received services from DVS as well as how veterans and their families learned about the services provided by the agency.

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Latest on Brooklyn & Manhattan VA Hospitals

 

parauda.jpgThis week, we're able to bring our community updates on the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS), which includes the Manhattan and Brooklyn VA Medical Centers. We are grateful to Congressman Dan Donovan for his leadership in bringing the concerns of Brooklyn and Staten Island veterans directly to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and VANYHHS Director Martina Parauda. With his office's permission, we are including the notes from his recent meetings here. Also included below are notes on this week's Town Hall with Director Parauda at the Manhattan VA. 

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VA Must Welcome ALL Veterans

 

300_manhattanva_motto.jpgAt a time when the VA itself is reporting that 70% of veterans who have died by suicide have not been in recent VA care, and that women veterans in particular are nearly twice as likely as other veterans to die by suicide--it is essential that the VA do all that it can to mitigate the crisis of veteran suicide by ensuring that ALL veterans are welcomed in to receive quality care. 

While the VA has made great strides in making programs and care more accessible, the VA has nevertheless firmly resisted the most basic way of welcoming in all veterans--to simply acknowledge them in the VA motto.

 

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Veteran Suicide Remains a Crisis in NY and US

 

300_suicideactivation.jpgIn late September, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released national and state-level findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data, from 2005 to 2016. Key points include: 

-- An average of 20 current or former service members die each day—a rate of 30.1 per 100,000. This is more than twice the rate of our civilian counterparts. 

-- Of these 20 veteran suicides per day, six have received recent VA health care and 14 have not.

-- Rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18-34) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 55 and older). However, because the older Veteran population is the largest, this group accounted for 58.1 percent of Veteran suicide deaths in 2016.

-- The rate of suicide among 18-34-year-old Veterans continues to increase -- The use of firearms as a method of suicide is high and increasing. The percentage of suicide deaths that involved firearms was 67.0 percent in 2015 and 69.4 percent in 2016.

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