Testimony at the Veterans Committee Preliminary Budget Hearing

On Monday, March 6, 2017, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony at the Preliminary Budget Hearing held by the NYC Council Committee on Veterans. Below is the prepared testimony of Kristen Rouse on behalf of the Alliance:

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Questioning NYC's Newly Announced $1.3 Million Public Artist in Residence Program

This past Wednesday, it was announced that Bryan Doerries has been named the new Public Artist in Residence with the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs on a 2-year grant of $1.3 million to fund artistic productions of ancient Greek drama that bring veterans and civilians together in community dialogue and healing.

Aquila Theatre's "Philoctetes"

NYC's Aquila Theatre produced Sophocles' "Philoctetes" with veterans as paid cast & contributors

We commend the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services for their commitment to promoting public dialogue on veterans issues through the arts. Those of us who have taken part in our community’s amazing and diverse artistic productions in recent years can attest to the transformative power of art and dialogue in our own lives. Yet we are concerned that this large grant and public program elevates an artist and production model that, although outwardly successful, are yet notable for specific problem areas:

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"LOVE OUR VETERANS" Rally at City Hall

On Valentine’s Day, the NYC Veterans Alliance, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, Veterans of Foreign Wars Richmond County Council, Operation Warrior Shield, and other veterans, family members, service providers, and advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall to call on Mayor de Blasio and NYC elected officials to LOVE OUR VETERANS in the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

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Announcing Our February (Spring) 2017 Agenda

cityhall.jpgWe have work to do for veterans this month! 

NYC government has entered the budget-making process for the 2018 fiscal year, which starts on July 1st. There is legislation on the table that needs to get passed. And more than anything, our City government needs to hear from veterans that we need them to not just tell us our service & sacrifice matter to them—they need to show us.

What can you do?

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Testimony on OurVeterans.NYC Calendar at Oversight Hearing

On February 7, Adrienne Brammer, OurVeterans Program Manager, testified on behalf of the NYC Veterans Alliance in response to the recommendation in the VAB's annual report for NYC government to establish an ongoing community calendar for the veterans community. Adrienne outlined the value and milestones of the community calendar that the NYC Veterans Alliance has created and maintained since August 2015, which is now at www.ourveterans.nyc.

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Mayor de Blasio Proposes Cuts for NYC Veterans

UPDATE 1: Rally with us on Valentine's Day!

UPDATE 2: The Mayor heard you loud and clear! We have word that the Mayor is revising his budget proposal to restore the DVS staffing and funding to the same levels as the 2017 budget. We'll update our website and social media with details as we have them.

Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio released his administration’s preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (which begins on July 1st). This is the first step in the city’s process of putting resources behind its priorities. Unfortunately we see a strong statement here about NYC’s veterans, military members, and their families—less funding during a year when the city has had very strong tax revenues. Simply put, we just aren’t a priority in Mayor de Blasio’s budget.

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Our January 2017 Fellows!

We’re proud to announce our new cohort of “Get Ready to Run” Fellows who will be traveling to Washington, D.C., this Thursday for four days of intensive training on how to run for elected office!

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Testimony on Veterans Property Tax Exemption Bill

taxexemption.jpgOn Thursday, December 8th, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony at a joint hearing of the NYC Council Committee on Veterans and the Committee on Finance regarding Introduction 1304, which would amend the Alternative Tax Exemption for veterans to include exemption of NYC school taxes for eligible veterans. Below is the testimony of Kristen Rouse:

My name is Kristen Rouse. I am a veteran of the United States Army, I served three tours of duty with the Army in Afghanistan, and I live in Brooklyn. I am testifying on behalf of the more than 220 dues-paying members of the NYC Veterans Alliance.

Affordable housing is a top concern for all New Yorkers, but when we discuss veteran housing in particular—we’re often told to stand in line. Yet going back to the veterans who came home from World War II, veteran reintegration and housing have been intimately linked. Veterans returning home to New York City didn’t just have the G.I. Bill assurances of an education and guaranteed home loan—they also had more than 11,000 apartments in Peter Cooper Village built specifically for veterans and their families to give them the baseline stability they needed to get back to work and build this city’s economy and livelihood as what we now call the Greatest Generation. Yet since that tremendous investment for veterans—and its even greater payoff for New York City and America—our city just hasn’t made the same investment in its veterans.

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Apply to Get Ready to Run - January 2017!

grtr.jpgApply to join our next Get Ready to Run (GRTR) cohort! If you're a veteran, transitioning military member, or military/veteran spouse, domestic partner, or widow in the New York City Metro area -- you're eligible to apply!

The purpose of GRTR is to prepare men and women who are committed advocates for the veteran community to broaden their skills and knowledge in civic leadership.

We hope the end result is for members of our GRTR cohorts to run an effective campaign for public office (local, state, or U.S. Congress) within the next 2-5 years.

 

[Applications are Closed.]

 

 

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Hearing on Resolution Supporting the Fairness for Veterans Act

We drafted and proposed this resolution in May in support of the bill that originated with our member, Kristofer Goldsmith and his DC-based nonprofit, High Ground Veterans Advocacy. It was introduced by Councilman Andy King earlier this month. The resolution urges Congress to pass, and the President to sign into law, the Fairness for Veterans Act of 2016, which would mandate a fair review process for veterans discharged administratively under less-than-honorable conditions, often for circumstances stemming from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, or sexual assault. Watch highlights of the hearing here: 

 

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