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NYC Veterans Alliance Efforts Lead to National Proposal

180503_crowley_medium.jpgBuilding on the progress we made last year to enshrine protections for veterans and military members in NYC law with passage of Local Law 119-2017, NYC Veterans Alliance today stood in support of a new bill being introduced by Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14) to protect student veterans using GI Bill benefits from housing discrimination nationwide. 

We gathered for a press conference at the stunning Bronx Victory Memorial in Pelham Bay Park, which commemorates the troops from the Bronx who lost their lives in World War I. Joining Rep. Crowley was NY State Assembly Member Mike Benedetto, Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez, Council Member Mark Gjonaj, and members of the NYC Veterans Alliance.

Dubbed the "Students LIVE (Live Irrespective of Veterans Educational Assistance) Act," Rep. Crowley's bill proposes to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to prohibit discrimination against veterans on the basis of their VA educational benefits as their source of income. We fully support this legislation as a national extension of protections we worked to emplace here in NYC, and it advances the policy priorities set forth by our members for this year.

 

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Run for Your County Committee!

votehere.jpgThe NYC Veterans Alliance encourages members of our veterans community--veterans, family members, and civilian supporters alike--to get active as civic leaders in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Especially if you live in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, you have a unique opportunity this year to make democracy work better in your community by running to serve as a member of your political party's County Committee.

County Committees are the basic building block for political governance in NYC and were originally created so that New Yorkers can have a real say in their political parties. But they are only as effective as the energy and enthusiasm that we, the people, put into making them work for our communities.

Members of County Committees are elected officials--their names appear on a party's primary ballot, and County Committee members must win votes in their election district. But in too many cases these seats go vacant, or the elected County Committee member is inactive--causing the County Committee to not fully deliver on its responsibilities to its constituents. 

Are you ready to make democracy work better in your neighborhood? 

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A Successful March to City Hall Week!

marchpic.jpgThanks to all who participated in making our March to City Hall Week a great success! March to City Hall Week is the premier civic leadership event of the NYC Veterans Alliance, mobilizing our membership as speakers and advocates committed to making NYC the best city in the country for veterans and their families. Members and staff advocated for our 2018 Action Agenda, a detailed list of policy solutions we are pressing our NYC Council Members, NY State delegation, and Congressional delegation to take action on.

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Our 2018 Policy Priorities

cityhall_400.jpgBased on input and feedback from our membership, as well as our founding mission and values, we are proud to announce our Policy Priorities for 2018. These priorities are the framework upon which our legislative initiatives, public testimonies, and advocacy are based. 

Our nine priorities are:

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Where's the Love for NYC Military, Veterans & Families?

sotc.jpgHappy Valentine's Day to our military members, veterans, families, and civilian allies!

Last night Mayor de Blasio delivered the first State of the City speech of his new term of office at the beautiful Kings Theatre in the heart of Brooklyn.

Although the surroundings were lovely, we heard no direct mention of how the Mayor’s plan for NYC to become the “Fairest Big City in America” would benefit veterans and our families—which together make up at least 1 in 17 New Yorkers. 

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Making Change in NYC Government Workshop

Join us on Saturday, February 3rd, for Making Change in NYC Government, a one-day, nonpartisan educational and networking workshop produced by the NYC Veterans Alliance. Sessions are tailored for an audience of veterans, family members, and civilian allies who want to advance their involvement in and understanding of NYC government. We'll cover community boards, political party leadership, local elections, policy & legislative advocacy, and more--all in good company where you'll be able to connect with experienced leaders and others eager to make a difference in their communities.

REGISTER BY CLICKING HERE

We're proud to announce that our distinguished speakers include:

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Summary of Town Hall at Manhattan VA

20180130_100710.jpgOn Tuesday, January 30, 2018, Martina Parauda, Director of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, held a town hall for veterans and the Manhattan VA. Here is a brief summary of the information she provided for our community:

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NYC Veterans Advisory Board Must Meet Its Obligations

The meeting of the NYC Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) scheduled for today in Brooklyn--which would have fulfilled the VAB's chartered mandate to hold at least one meeting open to the public in each borough on an annual basis--has been cancelled. The meeting has been rescheduled for January 23, 2018, for a Brooklyn location that is not yet identified.

This cancellation is unfortunately consistent with the VAB’s pattern of lagging behind in its ability to fulfill its chartered mandate:

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Vouchers for Homeless Veterans Must Be Protected

homelessvet.jpgYesterday the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs announced a plan to immediately slash the HUD-VASH program, a $265 million supportive housing voucher program intended to end veteran homelessness--until outcry from advocates and veterans organizations caused them to reverse that decision late last night. Although this shocking cut is off the table for right now, it will be back on the table for 2019. This is unacceptable and could potentially worsen the national scourge of veteran homelessness.

The NYC Veterans Alliance urges our community to call upon the VA and our Congressional delegation to protect the HUD-VASH voucher program in order to keep recently homeless veterans stable in permanent housing and to sustain a program that has effectively reduced veteran homelessness in NYC and nationwide. 

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Testimony on Intro. 6880: Extension of Eligible Funds Tax Exemption

On November 15, 2017, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony in support of Intro. 6880, a bill proposing to extend the current Eligible Funds Tax Exemption for veteran property owners to include school tax, which would bring this older program into alignment with the Alternative Tax Exemption expansion passed earlier in the year. 

Below is our testimony before the NYC Council:

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