February 23, 2021
New York City strengthens its commitment to honoring those who have served our nation by reducing homelessness among them in our city
NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration housed its 1,000th veteran experiencing homelessness today, as part of its continuing mission to rapidly rehouse veterans who experience homelessness and to improve city services for those who sacrificed for their country.
Army Veteran Jocelyn Miller became the 1,000th veteran moved by the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services today, when she moved into her new one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side with support from the DVS Housing and Support Service (HSS) team.
“A recovery for all of us means giving the veterans who risked it all to defend our freedoms the ability to lead a successful, full life in our city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Thanks to aggressive rehousing efforts, a record 1,000 Veterans found stable housing and are on firm footing to build a better future. We won’t rest in our mission to help those who gave everything to this nation.”
“Having a safe place to live is an essential ingredient to leading a productive life. Providing secure housing is the least we can do for those who protected our freedoms. DVS is laser-focused on our mission of helping Veterans overcome obstacles that keep them from leading purpose-driven lives,” said DVS Commissioner James Hendon. “We couldn’t have achieved this alone. The transitional and supportive housing community, foundations, and local businesses stepped up to help by providing everything from apartment spaces to pillows and beds.”
Created by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2016, the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services is the first standalone city agency in the nation dedicated to serving Veterans and their families. Reducing veteran homelessness lies at the core of DVS’ mission, and rates have declined 60 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office.
One of the keys to the agency’s success helping veterans get back on their feet has been the ongoing partnership with the NYC Department of Social Services, which includes the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA). DHS provides referrals to DVS whenever a Veteran experiencing homelessness enters a city-contracted shelter seeking services.
Agency staff collaborate to connect those veterans to services and help Veterans move into permanent housing. To achieve these goals, HRA provides financial assistance, such as housing subsidies, to facilitate the Veteran’s move, and the agency’s Public Engagement Unit shares information about available housing units.
Another vital element in helping to house Veterans is DVS’s HUD-VASH Continuum partnership with NYCHA. The agencies were selected as one of the country’s first municipal agencies to manage the federal rental subsidy and case management program centered on housing disconnected Veterans. Since 2017, Over 200 hundred Veterans have been housed with the program.
DVS helped more than 100 Veterans who were experiencing homelessness move out of shelter and into apartments in 2020. The HSS team helps veterans procure and process necessary documentation, provides virtual and socially distanced tours of new apartments, works with partners to find furniture, helps the Veterans move and ensure that they have the keys to their new home.
Since the pandemic’s start, DVS has also provided wellness checks for each of the formerly homeless Veterans they have housed to determine if they need additional services. The team also worked with shelters and Veteran Organizations to fill 23 supportive housing units in the Bronx set aside for Veterans with disabilities. All of the fully furnished apartments were moved into by November.
“We at DSS-DHS are ever-grateful for the invaluable service of our Veterans, and are constantly reminded of their sacrifices as we work closely with partner agencies to support them every which way we can, including to ensure that they receive the vital resources and stability they deserve in order to lead their lives with dignity,” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. “This milestone underscores our commitment to building on the progress we’ve made, using every tool at our disposal, including a range of innovative resources and programs, to help some of our most vulnerable Veterans get back on their feet.”
“Providing stable housing to our fellow New Yorkers who have sacrificed so much to serve our country is a mission that our Agency is proud to support,” said HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “As demonstrated through our ongoing investments in programs that prevent evictions, like legal assistance in housing court, and proactive efforts to help New Yorkers pay the rent, New York City is leading the nationwide fight in combatting housing instability, and that includes this Administration's pledge to rapidly connect veterans experiencing homelessness to the high-quality services and affordable permanent housing they deserve as the get back on their feet.”
“DVS has been a vital leader in helping to drastically reduce homelessness among veterans in New York City. By developing and leveraging partnerships with nonprofits like Jericho Project, DVS has creatively and effectively moved veterans into permanent housing with services in place to ensure they remain stably housed,” said Tori Lyon, chief executive Officer, the Jericho Project.
“Helping Veterans find safe, secure homes has always been core to what we do at HELP USA, and frankly, who we are as a country,” said Tina Goodrich, Executive Director of HELP USA’s Veteran Homeless Prevention and Aftercare Program. “We are honored to have worked with our partners at DVS to achieve this milestone, and we know that this is just the beginning of our fight to ensure that no veteran is ever homeless in New York.”
Veterans who would like to know more about DVS services can call (212) 416-5250 or visit www.nyc.gov/vets.
About the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services
The NYC Department of Veterans’ Services’ mission is to connect, mobilize, and empower New York City’s Veteran community to foster purpose-driven lives for US Military Service Members—past and present—in addition to their caregivers, survivors, and families. We assist NYC Veteran community members on issues that include, but are not limited to: employment, housing, food security, wellbeing, benefits, culture, and targeted advocacy. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/vets, call (212) 416-5250, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on social media @nycveterans.