On Monday, two weeks before Veterans Day, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) delivered powerful testimony before the NYC Council Committee on Veterans regarding the need for effective oversight of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS). IAVA’s testimony focused on bill Int 1118, in relation to additional reporting requirements for the Department of Veterans Services (DVS). Since its beginning, IAVA has fought for and has been successful in advocating for policies that are able to meet the needs of our newest generation of veterans, which includes advocacy towards the creation, proper funding and oversight of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS).
The testimony was delivered by Vadim Panasyuk, IAVA’s Senior Veteran Transition Manager (VTM), VA Benefits Lead for the Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP). Mr. Panasyuk is a New Yorker, a Ukrainian expatriate and a naturalized citizen, an Iraq war veteran and former sniper having served two tours with the 3rd Infantry Division, and masters-level social worker. RRRP is IAVA’s high-tech, high-touch referral service for veterans and their families with a complete and comprehensive case management component. RRRP works with veterans of all eras, with any discharge status, nationwide in confronting significant challenges like unemployment, financial or legal struggles, homelessness and mental health related challenges. To date, RRRP has served almost 9,000 veterans and family members nationwide, and over 1,000 in New York City alone, providing critical support and resources to ensure this city’s veteran’s needs are effectively met.
IAVA voiced concern to the NYC Council Committee on Veterans that additional reporting requirements for the Department in their current form do not do enough to measure effectiveness and to ensure proper oversight of DVS and its programs. IAVA supports the intent behind bill Int 1118, but highlighted that it is somewhat redundant as some of the data is already widely available, and does not require the reporting of necessary metrics to accurately evaluate DVS’ performance and many of its various initiatives. “IAVA is a data-driven organization, and as such our view is that when appropriate metrics are applied for measuring program performance and veteran outcomes, services delivered can continue to improve and become more accessible and effective for veterans and their families.” said Vadim Panasyuk, Sr. VTM for IAVA. “DVS has enormous potential and its establishment nearly two years ago was a historic moment for veterans of this city. DVS can significantly streamline access and improve service delivery to many of the most critical veteran-specific programs and resources already available here. This bill does not require the reporting of organizational and programmatic metrics necessary to accurately assess DVS’ performance or its impact on this city’s veterans”.
IAVA has applied metrics as a service standard to various components of RRRP which has provided comprehensive case management for veterans and families in NYC since 2012. “Using qualitative data in tandem with quantitative metrics has helped us better understand the needs of the population we serve and to continue to make targeted improvements to the services we provide. We encourage DVS to do the same to effectively ensure accountability and quality services for veterans and their families” said Vadim Panasyuk.
IAVA continues to provide guidance and support to DVS to ensure proper oversight occurs and that veterans and their families have seamless access to effective city-administered services.
Full testimony can be viewed here.
“Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America…remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans.” – TIME Magazine
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the premier veterans advocacy and support organization on the planet. Every day, we fight for veterans. Hard. We are the tip-of-the spear non-profit engine of impact that connects, unites and empowers over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide. Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness and 1-on-1 case-management support. We organize locally, and drive historic impacts nationally. IAVA is vanguard of the veterans movement and the most powerful network of veterans on the planet. We have connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided thousands of veterans of all generations with life-saving and life-changing personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s-level social workers.
Learn more at www.iava.org.