Donovan Hosts Staten Island Veterans Roundtable
Staten Island, NY—March 1, 2017…. Continuing his work to support those who bravely served our country, Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) last week gathered local veterans and advocacy organizations for a roundtable discussion at his Staten Island District Office. The roundtable gave veterans and advocates an opportunity to discuss pressing issues facing the veteran community, including problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the need for additional services, homelessness, long-term and mental health issues, and transition into civilian life. Donovan hosted a similar event in Brooklyn late last year.
Congressman Donovan said, “Our veterans have made major sacrifices in defense of our nation and way of life, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they receive the benefits and services they have earned. These veteran roundtables allow me to hear directly from the brave men and women who’ve served our country and understand the unique challenges faced by the veteran community. I will continue to fight for solutions that provide our vets with the resources and care they deserve.”
Participants discussed the importance of reforming the VA system to improve care and services available to veterans and their families. Long-standing problems highlighted by participants included: understaffed facilities, lack of transportation services to the Brooklyn VA, complex benefits processes, lack of focus on women’s services, and stigmatization of care for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries. The roundtable also discussed the need to recognize unique health needs of veterans from different wars, end veteran homelessness, improve support for veterans suffering from mental health issues, and increase mentorship initiatives and transition support. Insights from the roundtable will be used to identify opportunities for legislative reforms and proposals.
The event was held at Congressman Donovan’s Staten Island District Office and included representatives from Rolling Thunder, American Legion, Marine Corps League, Vietnam Veterans of America - Post 421, AMVETS - Post 917, United Staten Island Veterans Organization, Crossroads Church and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
A previous roundtable was held in Brooklyn last year as a part of Donovan’s continued commitment to improve veteran care and services. In December, Donovan’s legislation to bolster maritime job opportunities for veterans was signed into law. Last year, Donovan voted to support the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016, bi-partisan legislation that streamlines the VA’s disability benefits appeals process and provides additional authority to reprimand VA employees for bad performance and misconduct. Donovan also voted to support legislation that provides additional resources to treat veterans with Hepatitis C, a disease that has struck the veteran population particularly hard.
Donovan will continue to host veterans roundtables in the future.