NEW YORK, NY (January 26, 2016) — New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, outlined a shocking decrease in funding to the city’s new Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) in the city budget released earlier this week. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) — the only national veterans organization headquartered in New York City — calls on the mayor to keep his promise to the city’s veterans by giving the DVS the resources it needs to be successful. Cuts to DVS services as we enter its second year are simply unacceptable to New York City Veterans.
“In a time of endless war, as demand for veterans services continues to rise, Mayor de Blasio’s proposed cuts in his latest budget are a slap in the face to the nearly quarter of a million veterans that call NYC home,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “$300,000 may seem small in a budget up nearly a billion dollars from 2016 to over $84 billion, but to the city’s veterans it is massive.”
“We fought Mayor de Blasio to get this agency created two years ago, and won and we will continue the fight against these ridiculous cuts,” continued Rieckhoff. “The NYC Department of Veteran Services has the opportunity to serve as a model for major cities nationwide, but this week’s news was a giant step in the wrong direction. The lack of creativity by Mayor de Blasio and his team to cut fat elsewhere in the budget is have once again failed NYC’s veterans.”
IAVA, which led the fight for passage of the law to establish the new department, previously called for it to be funded at $100 million annually, and again calls on the mayor to allocate this level of funding appropriate to serve the city’s veterans.
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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.