PHOTO: Borough President Melinda Katz and a veteran last week helped celebrate the launch of the new vets’ affairs satellite office at Borough Hall. Courtesy of Queens Borough President’s Office
By Forum Staff
Queens veterans joined elected officials last week in celebrating the grand opening of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Satellite Office at Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.
The Satellite Office is the first of its kind to be opened by MOVA and is designed to enhance accessibility to the agency’s services without having to travel to the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan.
Located on the second floor of Borough Hall, the office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays (excluding City holidays). The MOVA Satellite features a Community Outreach Specialist (certified by the State Division of Veterans’ Affairs) to assist veterans in accessing federal, state and city benefits that they are entitled to as a result of their military service. The office can also connect vets with employment and training opportunities, housing and homeless prevention assistance, health and education services and more.
“I am proud to stand with Borough President Katz in cutting the ribbon commemorating the opening of the first Satellite Office of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs,” said MOVA Commissioner Loree Sutton, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general. “Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio and with the stalwart support of Borough President Katz, we can truly demonstrate our unwavering support and heartfelt gratitude for those Queens residents who have served our country on our behalf. In the convenience of their home borough, veterans and their families can meet our team of outreach specialists to learn more about benefits, resources, and services available for them to fulfill their education and career opportunities, ensure their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, and connect homeless veterans with permanent housing and support services.”
Recent increases in the budget for MOVA and the upcoming elevation of MOVA from a mayoral office into a full-fledged city agency helped make the opening of the Satellite Office possible.
“From this day forward, veterans in Queens will have access to every level of government and will be able to speak directly with highly-trained benefits counselors at Borough Hall,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), chairman of the Council Committee on Veterans. “I thank my good friend Borough President Melinda Katz and Commissioner Loree Sutton for improving the way we serve those who have served us.”
Ulrich was the prime sponsor of the legislation that will elevate MOVA from a mayoral office into full departmental status as the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. The change will take effect when the City’s new fiscal year begins on July 1.