Veterans in NYC and across the Metro area are being left in need as the city shuts down non-essential services and COVID-19 cases rise. On March 19-21, NYC Veterans Alliance asked veterans and family members for their input in an online survey on how the COVID-19 emergency was affecting them, and if they needed immediate help.
Veterans of all eras expressed a high level of concern that they will get sick, and that nearly 70% of these veterans have toxic exposures from their military service--like burn pits, Agent Orange, and 9/11 debris--placing them at greater risk for respiratory illnesses.
A report detailing these findings is HERE.
"We got a flood of requests for immediate needs from veterans when we started the survey, and it hasn't stopped," said James Fitzgerald, an Army veteran who leads NYC Veterans Alliance. "Veterans needed help with buying groceries. Elderly veterans told us they live alone and had no one to call if they got sick. A homeless veteran told us he was being forced out on the street, and government services weren't available to help. We're the only ones checking in on so many of these folks," said Fitzgerald.
To manage these overwhelming community needs, NYC Veterans Alliance is launching Veterans Mutual Aid - NYC Metro, a network for intake and coordination of incoming requests from veterans and family members in need. NYC Veterans Alliance staff and volunteers are currently managing requests, and veterans organizations are joining in to create a network of veterans and families helping veterans and families across the metro area. The aid this network will provide ranges from regular check-ins with isolated veterans to helping veterans find safe housing and assistance to make it through the pandemic.
Veterans, military members, their spouses and family members, and Gold Star family members can get help by completing the Aid Request Form at surveymonkey.com/r/mutualaidvets. NYC Veterans Alliance is also maintaining and updating a comprehensive resource list at nycveteransalliance.org/covid_19.