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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Pushing Against Closures at Brooklyn VA Town Hall

 

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Following outcry by veterans who rely on the Brooklyn VA Hospital for care, Martina Parauda, Director of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS), took questions for more than two hours in a standing-room-only Town Hall at the Brooklyn VA on Wednesday, July 18. 

Last month, a coalition of veterans organizations, led by President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, Danny Friedman, sent a letter to Director Parauda and Joan McInerney, Director of the Veteran Integrated Services Network (VISN) overseeing NY and NJ, asking them to hold a town hall to answer questions from veterans about facilities closures and reductions in services at the Brooklyn VA Hospital in recent years. The letter is HERE.

VISN Director McInerney declined to attend, but Director Parauda agreed to host the July 18 Town Hall, to which political officials and members of the media were invited.

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Including Veterans & Families in the City Charter

 

300_charterrevision.jpgThe City Charter defines in its seventy-five chapters the roles and responsibilities of our city officials, agencies, offices, boards, bureaus, and commissions. Yet as of summer 2018, only one active chapter mentions veterans, military members, and their families: Chapter 75, which defines the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services and the Veterans Advisory Board.

The City Charter revision efforts set forth by the Mayor and City Council in 2018 offer an opportunity for the whole of our city government to better reflect how integral our veterans, servicemembers, and families are to our city’s social and economic fabric by integrating our community’s needs and priorities in the City Charter.

Based on the priorities of our members and our 2018 Action Agenda, we urge the NYC Charter Revision Commission to include the following revisions:

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Will Robert Wilkie Support ALL Veterans?

 

wilkie.jpgToday the president's nominee for the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, appears before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and we raise concerns about his nomination based on information about Mr. Wilkie that has come to light in the media over the past 24 hours. We hope to hear today from Mr. Wilkie that he sincerely supports ALL veterans--regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other characteristics that are fundamental to veterans' personal identities. Veterans need to know that the VA, from the top down, is ready to provide quality, bias-free care and benefits for all those who have served our nation.

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Standing Up for Veteran Street Vendors

Today's NYC Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing held a hearing on three different bills proposing to restrict access of street vendors around the World Trade Center and downtown Flushing, as well as a ban on a certain type of char-broiler used by food vendors. Details of the hearing and these bills are HERE.

As part of our 2018 Action Agenda, we are continuing to speak up for veteran street vendors. We were unable to attend today's hearing, but submitted the following letter to the committee:

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Wins for Veterans & Families in FY 2019 City Budget

Today the NYC Council released the finalized Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the City of New York, which contains important wins for veterans and families! Here are the highlights:

 

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