History of DVS

American, city, state, and armed forces flags flank the DVS main office door.

NYC's Department of Veterans (DVS) was established by Local Law 113 in 2016. Prior to 2016, New York City's veterans were served by the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs, or MOVA.

Established in 1987 by Mayor Edward I. Koch, himself a veteran, MOVA's mission was to improve the lives of New York City veterans and their families. The change from a mayor’s office to an independent department came during the de Blasio administration's unprecedented efforts to improve and strengthen veteran services and resources in New York City.

In the past two years, the administration worked with the City Council to:

  • Quadruple the funding and staff to create and support DVS
  • Engage with our community and private sector partners to deliver on the Mayor's bold pledge to end chronic veteran homelessness and reduced overall veteran homelessness by over 70% since taking office
  • Make employment opportunities for veterans and their families a top priority, placing over 2,500 veterans and their spouses in jobs through the City's Small Business Services Workforce1 centers
  • Launch a veteran designator as part of the City's IDNYC program, facilitating access to veteran-specific services and benefits for veteran New Yorkers

Veterans' mental health has also played a large role in First Lady Chirlane McCray's Mental Health Roadmap, earning praise from veterans' mental health leaders and advocates. Also, working in partnership with the City Council, the Mayor and Speaker have expanded the Veterans Advisory Board, appointing new members to serve three year terms.

Leveraging the resources of agencies across the City government, MOVA used its limited reach to provide services to New York City's most vulnerable veterans and service members. 

Now as the Department of Veterans Services, the City will have the capacity to develop a sustainable, long-term strategy grounded in City leadership, public-private partnerships, and community engagement. Executing this strategy will yield the robust program development, direct services, research, policy and advocacy work needed to leverage the strengths and support the needs of the burgeoning population of over 210,000 veterans and their family members in New York City.