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New York City is the Next Step in the Effort to Improve Services for Veterans

October 28, 2013

New York City is the Next Step in the Effort to Improve Services for Veterans

The New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) will work together for the next 12 months to improve New York City’s existing resources and services designed to serve returning veterans and their families. The collaboration will enable those who served their country to gain greater access to high-quality mental and physical health services, as well as meeting job training and housing needs.

“Our goal is to help transition and stabilize veterans when they return home from active duty and to make it easy for them to access the benefits and services to which they and their families are entitled,” said Eric Weingartner, managing director for Robin Hood. “We know that if we make it easier for them to tap into the wealth of resources that are available, they have a much greater chance of landing on their feet and become more successful in their civilian life.”

The effort to improve services by making them more accessible and easier to navigate will be led by Colonel (Ret.) Jim McDonough, IVMF senior director for community engagement. Serving in the past as state director of the New York State Division of Veteran’s Affairs, CEO and president of the Rochester Veterans Outreach Center, and senior fellow for veteran’s affairs at the New York State Health Foundation, McDonough will lead efforts to coordinate with the city’s premier social services agencies to provide more accessible and easier to navigate services to help veterans and their families throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

The intent is to design an improved system that coordinates services from the public, private and independent sectors to ensure that veterans are easily connected to services that will help them successfully reintegrate within the community.

The IVMF was selected to lead this effort based on its past successes in bringing about more robust and effective community-based programs serving veterans and their families. In July 2013, IVMF’s technical expertise was invaluable when it helped more than 20 New York State nonprofit organizations secure $26 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), providing supportive services for nearly 7,000 at-risk veterans and their families.

“Our work in gaining funding for veterans’ programs throughout New York State has been a critical first step in bringing about greater access to resources that better address the needs of our veterans and their families,” said Colonel McDonough. “These early public/private partnerships at local levels represent the future of veterans’ services and provide us with a template for success for our work with Robin Hood. Our goal is to demonstrate to the VA that New York City’s resources serving veteran families, if optimized, can serve as a model for other cities around the country.”

Robin Hood and the IVMF will hold a meeting of leaders on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Robin Hood’s headquarters to begin work and assign roles, responsibilities, and schedules for interested organizations from across New York City’s veterans’ services landscape who are signing-on as participants in the public/private partnership opportunity. For more information regarding the initiative itself, please contact Jim McDonough at (315) 415-4050 or jdmcdono@syr.edu.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families.

About Robin Hood

Robin Hood is New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and since 1988 has focused on finding, funding, and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York’s poorest neighborhoods. Over its 25 year history, Robin Hood has distributed more than $1.25 billion to hundreds of New York City-based soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, job training programs, and other vital services that give New York’s neediest citizens the tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. In addition, Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to organizations helping New Yorkers in need. For more information regarding Robin Hood, contact Patty Smith at (212) 844-3562.

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