Council Member Holden proposes comprehensive support for veteran-owned businesses

Screenshot 2023-12-22 at 2.45.57 PM
Council Member Robert Holden is chairperson of the council’s Committee on Veterans.
Photo by John McCarten/ NYC Council

Council Member Robert Holden has re-introduced legislation in a package that would provide military veterans support for their businesses and connect them to community boards if it passes in City Council. 

The slew of veteran-focused bills were introduced last year, but a lack of progression shifted Holden’s efforts to requesting swift collective approval of his legislation. 

The legislative package aims at assisting the operators of veteran-owned businesses by providing them with more time to address city agency-issued violations; requires community boards to establish a veterans committee; provides resources and protections to veterans who are street vendors; and establishes a Korean War Veterans Day. 

Holden, as the chair of the Veterans Committee on the City Council, is a longtime advocate for veterans and continues to push for legislation that gives them more support. 

“Our priority should be with the veterans first and foremost,” Holden says. 

The Procurement Opportunities for Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises Bill (Int 0685) as one of six pieces of legislation in the new package, would require the Department of Small Business Services to provide veterans with a unique business classification. 

The bill also allows for DSS to provide more opportunities for veterans to participate in a Veteran Leadership Advisory Program, designed to educate veterans on business opportunities in the city.

Another of Holden’s bills (Int 0688) aims to increase the length of time a veteran-owned business would be required to address a violation issued by city agencies. Violations administered to veteran businesses by either the Fire Department of New York City or the Department of Sanitation will allow for 120 days to resolve an issue, with the possibility of an extension. 

Any violations that could cause an immediate threat to health and safety are exempt from the proposed rule, but the extension on cure times for violations also extends those administered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Buildings. 

Furthermore, additional legislation (Int 0686) asks for a designated representative of the veteran community to have a place on the Street Vendor Advisory board. Intro also asks the Department of Veterans’ Services to provide information and resources for veteran vendors on its website. 

Another bill in support of veteran vendors (Int 0687) could waive the $200 annual permit fee for mobile food unit commissaries that reserve at least one space for a veteran vendor.

One piece of legislation (Int 0684), different from the business-oriented legislation presented, aims at requiring each community board to establish a veterans committee. The creation of a veterans committee within each community board is meant to give a space for past military service members. 

Lastly, Resolution 0279, which is cosponsored by Council Member Vickie Paladino, aims to establish April 26 as Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. Recognition of the day annually is anticipated to pay homage to the courage and sacrifice of those who served during the Korean War.

The sweeping legislative measures by Holden are expected to provide veterans with necessary resources to thrive in New York City, if passed.