Supporting our Veterans: Housing and Employment OpportunitiesNovember 11, 2023
New York City’s Responsibility to Veterans Day
New York City played a significant role in addressing veteran street homelessness, achieving the elimination of veteran street homelessness in 2015. However, despite progress, the city still faces a massive affordable housing shortage, particularly for vulnerable populations like veterans. The state has witnessed a concerning trend of increased reports of poor mental health among veterans, along with high rates of veteran suicide. There are also too many obstacles to employment for unhoused individuals and a shortage of social service workers to treat trauma and mental health challenges. Proper investment and community consensus can help form a more robust safety net for service members. Supportive housing development and workforce development investment are vital tools in addressing chronic homelessness and improving health outcomes for tenants with mental health issues. Concern Housing has developed Surf Vets Place, a 135-unit building for veterans living with a disability, with 10% of the units accessible to persons with hearing or visual impairments. The property also includes a bagel shop, providing supportive employment opportunities for veterans and training in various skills. These initiatives demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships in solving complex challenges. The development of supportive housing properties and community investment plans is essential in helping struggling veterans achieve financial independence, address physical and mental health challenges, and overcome housing insecurity. As New Yorkers honor service members, it is essential to translate words into action to support those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our community.