October 29, 2018
Multi-agency effort to provide emergency assistance to student veterans in financial distress
NEW YORK – The de Blasio administration announced today a multi-agency effort to provide emergency rent relief for student veterans at risk of eviction due to severely delayed GI Bill benefit payments from the federal government. New York City is home to more than 12,000 student veterans, most of whom rely on the GI Bill as their sole means to pay rent.
“Our nation owes our veterans a debt of gratitude for their service. At the very least, those who bravely served our country are owed the benefits promised to them by the federal government,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City is stepping up to give student veterans the security they need to stay in their homes while they wait for the federal benefits they earned through service to our country.”
The New York City Department of Veterans' Services and Department of Social Services worked to streamline the process for student veterans to be evaluated for emergency rent arrears assistance. DVS and DSS provided the over 80 New York City-based academic institutions in DVS's "Veterans on Campus-NYC" network with a letter that can be shared with landlords who may not be aware of the reason for their student veteran tenant’s late payments. The letter also provides student veterans with information on how to apply for emergency rent arrears assistance from DSS.
“Our City’s veterans stood up for us when our country needed them most. It is only right that we stand up for them now in their time of need,” said Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret., US Army). “We’re proud to be able to offer support to the student veterans and their families who call the City of New York home so they can pursue their studies without fear of losing the roof over their heads. It is the very least we can do for those who have given so much to our country and to our city.”
“After serving our country in the military, we must do everything in our power to assist student veterans so they can remain in stable housing,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This collaborative effort is another example of how the City comes together to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the services they need, when they need them the most. We are very proud to be part of this partnership to help student veterans.”
Nationally, thousands of student veterans are still awaiting their first fall semester payments, which include a basic allowance of housing of up to $4,185 each month in New York City. Dozens of schools reported to the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services that many of their student veterans are between two to four months behind on rent and are without funds for living expenses. On October 25th, the City announced to student veterans that we stand ready to provide emergency rent assistance to any enrolled student veteran who qualifies. Student veterans who are behind on rent or face eviction due to not having received their GI Bill benefits can download information on how to apply for these emergency funds here.
“The notion that any veteran could be evicted from their homes simply due to delayed GI Benefits is shameful,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. “The brave men and women who valiantly served this country should be honored for their service every single day and should never have to worry about where they will rest their head. Mayor de Blasio should be thanked for his leadership in this effort.”
“The delay of GI Bill student housing payments for thousands of student veterans is inexcusable,” said Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Veterans' Affairs. “These veterans served our nation honorably, and should be entitled to all of the benefits of the GI Bill. I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio is creating a fund for emergency rent assistance so that our student veterans do not lose their housing.”
"I thank Mayor de Blasio, New York City Department of Veterans' Services, and the Department of Social Services for taking swift action to assist student veterans as they await GI Bill payments. A higher education is a key component in ensuring that veterans are equipped with the tools they need to attain long term careers. When the promised finances from the federal government don't materialize, these veterans are left without resource. I'm grateful for the City's leadership in closing this gap, " said Council Member Deutsch, Chair of the Committee on Veterans.
“While New York City has made great strides in ending veteran homelessness, many veterans – including as many as 3,000 student veterans – are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. Although it would be impossible to full repay the debt we owe our brave men and women in uniform, I am thrilled that the City is taking the right steps to help our nation’s heroes,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.
Any student veteran who is the primary resident in a private apartment, has fallen behind in making rent payments and needs immediate assistance can visit the New York City Department of Social Services Michael J. Handy Veterans Service Center located at 25 Chapel Street, 6th Fl, Room 606, Brooklyn, NY 11201 to have their case evaluated for emergency rent arrears funds.
More information on emergency rent arrears assistance is available at 718-557-1399 or on the DSS website. For any other benefits questions, student veterans should contact DVS at 212-416-5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.