Photo Courtesy of Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio and DVS Commissioner Loree Sutton
By Forum Staff
With most of the more than 12,000 student veterans living in the five boroughs at risk of eviction due to severely delayed GI Bill benefit payments from the federal government, the City has initiated a multi-agency effort to provide emergency rent relief, the de Blasio administration announced on Monday.
Nationally, thousands of student veterans are still awaiting their first fall semester payments, which include a basic housing allowance of up to $4,185 each month in the five boroughs, administration officials noted. Dozens of schools have reported to the City Department of Veterans’ Services that many of their student veterans are two to four months behind on rent and are without funds for living expenses.
“The notion that any veteran could be evicted from their homes simply due to delayed GI benefits is shameful,” U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Queens and Brooklyn) said.
According to the administration, the City Department of Social Services and DVS worked to streamline the process for student veterans to be evaluated for emergency rent arrears assistance. DVS and DSS provided the more than 80 city-based academic institutions in DVS’s “Veterans on Campus-NYC” network with a letter that can be shared with landlords who may not be aware of the reason for their student veteran tenant’s late payments. The letter also provides student veterans with information on how to apply for emergency rent arrears assistance from DSS.
“Our city’s veterans stood up for us when our country needed them most. It is only right that we stand up for them now in their time of need,” said DVS Commissioner Loree Sutton, M.D., brigadier general (ret.), U.S. Army.
Any student veteran who is the primary resident in a private apartment, has fallen behind in making rent payments and needs immediate assistance can visit the New York City Department of Social Services Michael J. Handy Veterans Service Center at 25 Chapel St., 6th Floor, Rm. 606, Brooklyn, NY 11201 to have their case evaluated for emergency rent arrears funds.
“While New York City has made great strides in ending veteran homelessness, many veterans—including as many as 3,000 student veterans—are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. Although it would be impossible to full repay the debt we owe our brave men and women in uniform, I am thrilled that the City is taking the right steps to help our nation’s heroes,” City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) added.
More information on emergency rent arrears assistance is available at (718) 557-1399 or nyc.gov/dss. For any other benefits questions, student veterans should contact DVS at (212) 416-5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.