Since the agency’s establishment in April 2016, the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services built its team to full capacity and provided one-on-one assistance to over 3,000 New York City veterans and family members in the areas of housing, education, employment, benefits support, and mental health.
May 24, 2017
New York - The New York City Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) -- NYC’s first new agency in over 20 years and the nation’s first major city to stand up its own agency devoted to veterans and their families – celebrates its first full year as a City agency during Fleet Week 2017. Since beginning official operations in April 2016, DVS rose to the challenge of simultaneously building its team with enormously talented staff – reaching its budgeted capacity of 35 team members by May 2017 – as well as connecting thousands of New York City veterans and their families with a full range of services.
DVS is relentlessly passionate about improving the lives of all New York City veterans and their families, regardless of discharge status. DVS operates as a centralized hub able to put veterans and their families at the center of all we do. We coordinate a quality-vetted range of comprehensive services with a myriad of agencies at the City, state, and federal level, as well as through a host of vibrant and innovative public-private partnerships.
Our mission is straightforward: to foster purpose-driven lives for NYC service members, veterans, and their families through:
At DVS, we know that veterans are extraordinary civic assets whose enduring strength and demonstrated commitment to public service greatly contribute to making NYC the world’s greatest city. We are dedicated to building the strongest foundation possible to connect veterans and their families with high-quality services across a variety of needs, thereby strengthening our veterans’ capacity for and commitment to continued service within our City.
DVS has made great strides in building this foundation. During our first year, DVS has made historic strides in launching a robust suite of operations:
“To see this young agency grow and evolve so quickly within this last year is nothing short of tremendous,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Helping the heroes who have sacrificed immensely for this country is critically important and challenging work. What Commissioner Sutton and her team at DVS have accomplished in such a brief period of time is truly inspiring.”
“There is simply no greater privilege,” remarked Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret.), Commissioner of the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services, “than to lead and build this incredible team over the course of DVS’ first year. Team DVS has already proven its mettle by providing compassionate, efficient, and personalized help to thousands of New York City’s veterans and their families – all while adjusting to the operations of a brand new City agency. It is an honor to serve New York City in my capacity as Commissioner, and there is no greater team with whom I could imagine serving shoulder to shoulder. And the best of all, we’ve just begun!”
“As Chair of the Veterans Committee, it has been a privilege to serve the brave men and women who have served this country. One of my greatest accomplishments was helping the City establish the Department of Veterans’ Services. I will never forget that fateful day my colleagues in the City Council unanimously passed my bill to launch this much-needed agency,” Councilman Eric Ulrich, Chairman of the Veterans Committee, said. “In its first year alone, DVS has helped thousands of veterans find housing, jobs and medical care when they return to service. Although it would be impossible to fully repay the debt we owe our veterans, I vow to continue being an advocate for our nation’s heroes. I would like to congratulate DVS on a successful first year providing such valuable services for the 225,000 men and women in uniform who call New York City home. ”
“Commissioner Loree Sutton and her staff’s visionary approach at the Department of Veterans’ Services has involved building the arts into the very core of their services to veterans,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “This is evident in their embrace of NYC’s Public Artist in Residence program, where they partner with artist Bryan Doerries and his Theater of War project to help reintegrate veterans and other communities impacted by violence into our social fabric through performance, conversation, and catharsis. DVS gets it: the arts are not an extra. They are vital to a healthy community.”
Todd Haskins, Chair of the Veterans Advisory Board, said, “As a New Yorker, I am very proud to see our city lead the way nationally in developing the most effective local veteran policies. The guiding principle behind all of these policies is to support veterans' continued service as citizens which means that ALL New Yorkers benefit from these programs. It has been a great honor for the VAB to give a voice to the veterans in New York City during the critical first year of the DVS's existence as an Agency and we look forward to its continued success.”
Bryan Doerries, DVS’ Public Artist in Residence remarked, “2500 years ago, the ancient Greeks knew that the arts were the front lines of healing, as does the Department of Veterans’ Services today. It’s a distinct honor to be collaborating with DVS on this pioneering public health campaign, using live theater and powerful discussions to bring diverse communities together, break down stigmas, increase awareness, and reduce isolation.’
“During the past year we have worked tirelessly to build a world-class, diverse team of professionals all dedicated to serving the veteran community in New York City” said Jeffrey Roth, DVS’ Deputy Commissioner. “We have more building to do in our second year, including launching new innovations in whole health, advocacy, and comprehensive service navigation. I am eager and excited about all of the big things yet to come for NYC veterans and their families. Happy anniversary to this important agency, and let’s continue the work forward.”
“It has been such an incredible experience to build this team,” said Nicole Branca, Assistant Commissioner for Housing & Support Services. “The Housing & Support Services team – our Veteran Peer Coordinators, Aftercare & constituent staff, and analysts – have worked tirelessly to advocate directly for homeless veterans, working with landlords, developers, and public and private sector partners to make sure they found safe, stable homes and – just as importantly – had the support necessary to retain them. I am so proud of the team, and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the years to come.”
Darlene Brown-Williams, PhD, Assistant Commissioner for Whole Health and Community Resilience at DVS remarked, “There is no better mission imaginable than working to improve the lives and health of this City’s veterans and their families. With the First Lady’s pioneering ThriveNYC Mental Health Road Map, we are creating a veteran and caregiver-focused program called VetsThriveNYC that caters to their specific needs and strengths. We’re preparing to launch a groundbreaking approach to whole health, moving the frontlines of healing from the clinic to the community. This timely and relevant model inspires all involved, including my team and colleagues who are tireless in bringing this model to life every day.”
Jamal Othman, Assistant Commissioner of City Employment, Education, Entrepreneurship, Engagement & Events (CE5) at DVS said, “I’m extremely proud of the work that the DVS team has performed during our first year. While creating a new department and operations and staffing it with talented personnel, DVS also established satellite locations in each borough. The sites have increased access to resources by making it easier for veterans to get the assistance they need without ever leaving their borough. With this City-wide presence, veterans and their families can get the personalized help they need, one-on-one and close to home. We look forward to continued growth and capacity going forward with respect to all facets of the CE5 Line of Action.”
“VetConnectNYC will give New York City veterans a single point of access to the benefits and services they’ve earned,” said Venkat Motupalli, Chief Information Officer for the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. “It’s a user-friendly, intuitive approach to ensuring a safe, customized, and beneficial experience for veterans navigating available resources.”
Ines Adan, Director of Human Services at DVS, remarked on the final honors program that, “In fields of honor lay men, women and their dependents who sacrificed for love of country. Here is where we honor Americans of all races, religion, economic status, faith, sexual orientation who served to protect the American ideal. Here in these fields of honor we custodians of our heroes do our part to right the unfortunate slights of their time.”
For more information on the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, please visit our website at www.nyc.gov/vets, visit us at 1 Centre Street, Suite 2208, New York, NY, call 212-416-5250, or follow us on social media @nycveterans.