FYI. The article below will be in tomorrow's CRAIN's NY Business (January 29, 2007). While I am always grateful for any media attention that brings to light the problems veterans are facing here in New York City, I find myself somewhat disappointed with this article. After reading this article, you would be led to believe that the city is doing way more than they are actually are in terms of veterans services.
As I have said before, the Mayor is doing some things for veterans - but on a piecemeal basis - starting programs with no input from the veterans community and then only going part-way with it (Example: The City's Extended Benefits Program). I felt that this article looked at what the city is doing from the veterans homelessness standpoint and that in essence highlights the problem - what else is the city doing? Once again, as I have stated before: "Where is the myriad of services?" You can read my comments on this here.
Isn’t Speaker Quinn’s dad a veteran?
In yesterday’s NY Daily News article about City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s first year as Speaker, Councilman Charles Barron is quoted as saying: "Instead of being the 'People's House', the Council almost has become the 'Mayor's House.” While you may or may not agree with the quote, there are a lot of people that do.
While a majority of New Yorker’s seem to believe that veteran issues are a federal issue (they are not), when Speaker Quinn came in, there were many within the veteran’s community that believed we had a true supporter and advocate. Ms. Quinn, along with former Councilmember Margarita Lopez was at the forefront of fighting to keep the Manhattan and Brooklyn VA Hospitals open during the VA CARES process. It was noted that Ms. Quinn’s dad is a veteran and her partner’s father was a veteran as well. When she became Speaker she continued the veterans committee and made it a standing committee.
Here's the press release from the Mayor's press conference today at the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence. While my initial reaction is to applaud these initiatives, I note that some of these "new" initiatives were discussed as far back as last year's City Council Veterans Committee hearing on homelessness, in which there was no DHS rep. present and MOVA didn't stay to listen to testimony. In fact, one of the iniatives was something I have been saying for over the past 3 years! While 100 homeless veterans will be given housing in 100 days (1 a day) I also wonder what the city plans to do with the other 617 homeless veterans, or is it 314? What about the female homeless vets?