Flushing lawmaker touts passage of bill aimed at giving homeless vets get the help they need

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Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced passage of a new bill on May 6 to address veteran homelessness in New York.

The bill (A.5660/S.4049) will direct key state agencies to gather information on New York’s homeless veteran’s and the appropriate services they need. As part of the study, recommendations and solutions would be provided to combat the growing epidemic, according to Rozic, who chairs the Office of State-Federal Relations.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that veterans in our communities have full access to the services they need,” said Rozic. “For veteran’s navigating homelessness, the challenges are even greater. This legislation creates solutions to best assist the men and women who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.”

The study would include information on the number of veterans who are homeless and analysis of gender as it relates to homelessness. It would also include data on the number of children of veterans who are homeless, placement of such children, unemployment rates, and cases of military sexual trauma experience while on active duty.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2018 report, between 2010 and 2018, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness nationwide was cut nearly in half (49 percent), a decline of 36,000 people since 2010. Nearly 38,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2018, of whom 62 percent were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs.

In New York City, there was a 2.8 percent increase in homelessness, primarily among families in emergency shelters and transitional housing, the report said. Although the overall number of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness has increased, the report found that homelessness among veterans fell.

The report also found that on a single night in January 2018, 1,224 veterans experienced homelessness, a decrease of 1.6 percent (or 20 people) since January 2017. The dip in Veteran homelessness has been a trend over the past few years, according to HUD, which reports that since 2010, Veteran homelessness in New York declined from 5,765 or 78 percent.

“Though homelessness among veterans in New York has decreased over the years, local efforts to reduce homelessness are still needed for these critical federal programs remains uncertain,” said Rozic.

Ryan Graham, chairman of the Legislative Committee, Queens County Council of Veterans of Foreign Wars, commended Rozic for her advocacy on the veteran front, serving those who have borne scars while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

“Veteran integration back into civilian life can be strenuous, looking for work, providing for their families, and securing a stable home,” said Graham. “Unfortunately, homelessness rates among veterans have hit staggering figures, whether for those who have served recently during the global war on terror, as well as during previous eras and conflicts.

Graham further added, “Assembly Bill A.5660, introduced by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, not only brings this issue to light but delves deeply into finding the reasons behind veteran homelessness in the State of New York, capturing and understanding the root causes, in being able to combat this issue currently and for future generations of warriors.”  

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