CIVIC CENTER — The City Council will ask Mayor Bill de Blasio to dramatically increase funding for city veteran services as part of its response to the mayor’s preliminary budget, according to a council source briefed on the matter.
The council is asking the administration to nearly double funding to the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) by adding $400,000 when the executive budget is released early next month. The mayor’s preliminary budget, released in February, gave the agency $499,548, which covers a small staff and services for veterans, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
Additionally, the council will seek $1 million for mental health, employment and legal assistance services for veterans that will be funneled into community-based organizations.
“New York is home to approximately 200,000 veterans and we need to make sure they get all the support they need. We want New York City to be a welcoming place for veterans,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement.
According to the source briefed on the matter, the mental health challenges among veterans helped spur the council to act.
Unemployment also remains high among veterans. While the latest statistics from the New York State Department of Labor shows the city’s overall unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, veterans remains at 10.5 percent unemployment, according to the city’s Department of Small Business Services.
The council is expected to present its response to the mayor’s preliminary budget on Wednesday.