BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Despite the hundreds of resources available to veterans, many still suffer from homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, and more, but in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday, the resources came to the community to inform veterans of the great benefits they’re entitled to.
Organizations and government agencies set up tables in Albee Square for a resources fair to provide information on everything from housing, to health care, to finding a new job.
“We have over 210,000 veterans that live in this city,” said Gregory Williams of the city’s Department of Veteran Services. “On top of that, [there’s an] average [of] two to three family members per veteran household. We’re talking about easily 400,000 to 500,000 constituents that we have to serve and each one of them deserves the very best.”
Shantique Gaston served eight years in the Army, primarily doing logistics work domestically and overseas in Afghanistan and Korea. She happened to be in the area during the resources fair.
“I’m looking forward to being able to being connected with child development, corrections kind of opportunities,” Gaston said. “Even security, for that matter.”
For many veterans, there is no place to come home to, which is why the veterans division of Services for the Underserved was also there.
“We try to prevent homelessness,” said Walter Gist, a veterans outreach specialist with SUS. “We are also in the various shelters in New York City, getting the veterans and helping them to get apartments to start a new life.”
The fair is a way for veterans to become aware of the things they’re deserving of.
“I have heard so many stories of veterans getting out of the service and not knowing they were eligible for this or they can receive that and that’s because someone hasn’t sat there and told them,” said Kiana Burden of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gaston had a great experience meeting with potential employers.
“It seems to be going very well,” Gaston added. “It seems to be very much knowledgeable people who are here to help, so I’m excited to be connected and already getting some good resources.”
If you are a veteran who missed the resources fair, you can contact the city’s Department of Veteran Services at (212) 416-5250 for information.