Greetings! Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, I am honored to serve as the founding Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. For all who live, work, or attend school in New York City and have served in any branch of our armed forces or are currently serving on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard, we look forward to assisting in any way we can.
As we charge full steam ahead into our third year of operations, it’s worth mentioning that our story has been and continues to be, one of collaboration. Indeed, it was collaboration – between the Mayor, the Speaker of the City Council, the Committee on Veterans, and the City’s impassioned veteran advocates – that launched us from our humble beginnings at the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA), to our start as the country’s first stand-alone city agency dedicated solely to service members, veterans, and their families.
It was through collaboration between local and federal agencies, private & nonprofit partners, and our compassionate, dedicated staff that in 2015, we were able to end chronic veteran homelessness in New York City, and in 2017, further decrease the rate of veteran homelessness, even as the rest of the country saw an uptick.
It is through collaboration – with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF), Northwell Health, Unite Us, and the rich landscape of veterans service organizations throughout the five boroughs – that we’re proud to bring you VetConnectNYC, a service and access multiplying network that will innovate the way service members, veterans, and their families access resources and care in New York City.
And it will be an ongoing collaboration with New York City itself – the schools and businesses, faith and recreational centers, service providers and organizations – all marshalling their collective efforts to leverage the strengths and support the needs of the burgeoning population of approximately 500,000 veterans and family members in New York City. There simply is no greater privilege than to serve those who have so nobly served us all.
We look forward to hearing from you -- now, early and often.
Loree Sutton, MD
Brigadier General, US Army (Ret.)