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.Read more
The 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:Read more
Today 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.Read more
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:Read more
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:
Rep. Donovan Joins NYC Veterans Alliance, VVA Ch 72, and IAVA in Opposing Clinic Closure at Brooklyn VA
On June 1, Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) joined NYC Veterans Alliance, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America in opposition to further closures and reductions at the Brooklyn VA Hospital. As with last year's plan to close outpatient surgeries at the Brooklyn VA, the plan to close the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinic this month comes as yet another reduction of services for veterans who rely on this crucial facility. View the full video here:Read more
On Tuesday, May 8th, NYC Veterans Alliance joined with the NYC Campaign Finance Board and more than 100 advocates with the Vote Better NY Coalition to advocate for vital reforms to bring New York State's voting laws into the 21st century.
Five of our members served as team captains, leading meetings with NYS legislators and staff on a busy day in Albany. Our member Troy Olson spoke eloquently at our press conference in the Capitol's stairway:Read more
Building 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.
Thanks 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.Read more
On Monday, October 2, the NYC Council held an oversight hearing on the NYC Department of Veterans' Services (DVS). We offered testimony assessing the progress and budget of DVS for FY 2017 and the current FY 2018 budget year. Despite much needed and encouraging growth, our overall assessment is that this richly funded agency has demonstrated disappointing lapses in its basic responsibilities and is as yet failing to fully deliver on programs that highly paid staff have been working to deliver for many months.
For specifics, please see the testimony below of our Founding Director.Read more