Since the kickoff of our Spring 2017 Policy Agenda with our Lobby Week and “Love Our Veterans” Rally in February, we’ve been pushing NYC Council Members to support our priorities by email, direct mail, and in-person meetings with Council Members and staff. Here’s a preliminary update on how we’re doing on each of our agenda items and how you can help:
1. Protect the Budget for NYC Department of Veterans’ Services:
Update: In FY 2017, $2.9 million was allocated for 35 staff members to launch NYC’s newest agency. The Mayor’s initial budget proposal for FY 2018 reduced that amount by one staff member and $318k. Following our community’s outrage, his office announced that the position and funding will be restored in his Executive Budget that will be released in May 2017. We have been urging NYC Council members—in our public testimonies and private meetings—to likewise protect this funding level in further budget negotiations to ensure that the budget passed this June will reflect $2.9 million for DVS. We are continuing to monitor this.Read more
On Monday, March 6, the City Council’s Veterans Committee held their preliminary budget hearing on funding for the Department of Veterans Services. Commissioner Loree Sutton of the Department of Veterans’ Services testified before the Committee, as did Kristen Rouse, Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, and Barbara Johnson Stemler, Senior Manager of Access Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
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:
by Ksenia Voropaeva and Molly Pearl
In January, we selected six veterans and one veteran spouse & caregiver as Fellows in our Get Ready to Run program and brought them to Washington, D.C., for four days of intensive training on how to run for elected office. This is a year-long Fellowship, and our Fellows continue to be involved and grow as leaders and advocates. Some of our Fellows were part of our Lobby Week last month. Here’s what two of them had to say about it:Read more
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.
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:Read more
by Olivia Meier
On February 16, 2017, Olivia Meier, Operations Manager of the NYC Veterans Alliance, gave a short presentation at Civic Hall to share the Alliance’s mission and our partnership with Councilmatic. Below is a written version of her remarks.
Over the past two years, the NYC Veterans Alliance has had 4 main objectives: to maintain a hub of community information for NYC veterans, advocate for veterans & their families in NYC, create a nonpartisan training program to get veterans & spouses ready to run for office, and increase the level of civic engagement for our veterans community. All of this, while working to ensure that we are as inclusive an organization as we can be.Read more
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.Read more
We 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?Read more
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.Read more
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.