Press Release

The Department of Veterans Services announces New York City 50th city in US to become a “caregiver supportive city,” formally recognizing military and veteran caregivers

The New York City Department of Veterans Services is proud to announce that in a resolution signed at the Elizabeth Dole “Hidden Heroes” campaign launch in Washington, DC, the city of New York became the 50th city in the US to become a “caregiver supportive city,” formally recognizing military and veteran caregivers.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation in 2014 that documented 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers throughout the country. To honor their service and support their sacrifice, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation launched a campaign calling the nation to action. In response, New York City issued a resolution to become a “caregiver supportive city” (attached).

By becoming a “caregiver supportive city,” the City of New York will work to

  • Identify military and veteran caregivers residing in our city;
  • Work to ensure that our government, organizations, employers and non-profits are aware of the unique challenges of military and veteran caregivers and are encouraged to create supportive environments and opportunities for assistance;
  • Plan an observance each May, during Military Appreciation Month, to honor and recognize the city’s military and veteran caregivers in partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s national Hidden Heroes campaign;
  • Encourage all who care for and support veterans and service members to extend that support to their caregivers; and
  • Designate a point of contact for our city, from the public or private sector, for citizens and organizations wanting to offer support, and caregivers who need that support.

Loree Sutton, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans Services (DVS) called the resolution “a critical step in the right direction in supporting New York City’s veterans and their families. We at New York City’s Department of Veterans Services are keenly aware that no service member serves alone. Families, friends, communities, and, indeed, society are all a part of the support structure each service member relies on when they depart from the armed forces and reenter civilian life. The caregivers of these service members need the same support of their families, friends, communities and society. This resolution ensures that the City of New York will do whatever it can to support military caregivers and to make sure the caregivers know they have that support.”

 

Darlene Brown-Williams, Assistant Commissioner for Integrative Health and Community Resilience at DVS remarked, “The Hidden Heroes launch was truly a remarkable event that was both eye opening and essential.  The testimonies from the caregivers addressed the need for vital attention to their untold stories.  I’m confident that it left a deep impact on those who attended and a strong commitment to action of the work that must be done to assist caregivers with the tremendous challenges they face when caring for their loved one.”  

 

Mariel Juarez, DVS Veterans Advisory Board member, stated, “It is a great honor to acknowledge those who help our veterans in a myriad of ways, whether it’s in transitioning and assimilating to civilian life, or adjusting to new physical and emotional needs. Being a caregiver supportive city sets a precedent in our priority to help those who care for others.”

Joe Hunt, Veterans Mental Health Coalition Director, said, “The adoption of this resolution recognizes the unique challenges of military and veteran caregivers and acknowledges the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our country. It also underscores New York City’s position as a veteran-friendly city and sets a high standard for the commitment and quality of services to which all veteran serving organizations.” 

Dan McSweeney, United War Veterans Council President, remarked, “On behalf of all those who have served and are still serving, the United War Veterans Council thanks Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brigadier Gen. Loree Sutton, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans Services, for their continuing commitment to our veterans and for making New York City an example for other communities of how to provide meaningful service to our veterans.”

Mike Linnington, Chief Executive Officer, Wounded Warrior Project said, “I have heard many powerful stories of the women and men who are caring for our nations wounded service members. More than ever, in the communities where our wounded warriors and their family members live, these caregivers need our support. The resolution passed by New York City is a big step forward in ensuring that we keep our commitment to support not just the warriors who served our nation, but to their caregivers who often make large personal sacrifices to take care of their loved ones. We can do no less – it our duty.”

Aaron Scheinberg, The Mission Continues Executive Director, Northeast, said, We're proud of our city becoming an official Caregiver Supportive City! At The Mission Continues we empower veterans to continue service here in NYC. Military family members and caregivers play an important role in our efforts, joining us for our continuous monthly service projects across the five boroughs. We've found that service and leadership in the community is an effective reintegration strategy for veterans. We pledge to take the same approach for military caregivers by encouraging them to serve alongside veterans.”

Joe Quinn, Director of Leadership for Team Red, White & Blue, said: "As an inclusive organization, Team RWB has many military families, spouses and caregivers as part of the Team. Consistent engagement with the community is critical to the enrichment of a veteran's life, to include the entire family. As a native New Yorker, I believe New York is the best city in the world, and being a ‘caregiver supportive city,’ is just another example of that."

Read the full text of the resolution. For more information, contact press@veterans.nyc.gov or call 212-416-5250.