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Councilman Deutsch Speaks to Veterans

Chaim Deutsch veteran's round table“I chose a committee that doesn’t empower me but the advocates and veterans in the city of New York” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch to a conference room full of veterans and their organizational supporters. On November 15, 2018, Councilman Deutsch, Chairman of the New York City Council Veterans Committee, hosted his first ever roundtable discussion on veteran issues.

The Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work proudly represented Wurzweiler Care Cafes at the roundtable, through Jon Greenfield, director of YU’s department of government relations, and Hana Frankl, Care Cafe associate director.

Wurzweiler’s Care Cafes, under the guidance of Dr. Danielle Wozniak, Dorothy and David Schachne Dean, and Dr. Katherine Mitchell, director of the Field Office and program director fo Care Cafe, work to provide a psycho-social and educational perspective for those requiring assistance in various areas, such as finding fulfillment, resilience, healthy living, addiction, and family and parenting dynamics.

Wurzweiler specifically plans events relating to veteran issues, providing coping mechanisms for trauma and transitions for the 210,000 veterans in New York City. According to Frankl, Wurzweiler Care Cafes are a point of entry for those who deal with the stigmas attached to asking for help and provide them with the resources to further heal. The Wurzweiler team makes veterans feel like they are part of a community, since loneliness is an affliction many veterans know too well.

Councilman Deutsch is dedicated to resolving the issues plaguing New York veterans, doing everything in his power to bring together people who can solve veteran issues of mental illness, homelessness, and isolation. Councilman Deutsch’s mission is supplemented by the various passionate individuals who lead veteran organizations throughout the city, including Dr. Wozniak. Dr. Wozniak said that the Care Cafe mission could never be fully realized without Councilman Deutsch: “The Councilman’s support and contributions allow us to assist New Yorkers in desperate need of recovery. Soldiers are the backbone of American society, and Care Cafes help us serve veterans, as veterans have served us.”

The various other organizations in attendance complement the work done by Wurzweiler Care Cafes, supporting veterans in areas of finance and health revival.

One such organization is PROVE. They are the true embodiment of public service as they “serve student veterans by assisting them in their transition from military service to college life.” Providing education and community for student veterans ensures that those returning from service can smoothly reacclimatize to civilian life.

The Samaritan Daytop Village is another group devoted wholly to the revitalization of veterans. They work with Wurzweiler to treat veterans who have fallen victim to drug and alcohol addictions, providing them with “trauma-informed care” which “emphasizes safety, respect, empowerment, personal integrity, and the healing power of relationships.”

An encouraging pattern throughout most of the organizations in attendance is the acceptance of veterans who have been dishonorably discharged, which is a subset of the veteran population that tends to be ignored or forgotten.

The way in which Councilman Deutsch fights alongside these organization to make veterans feel at home in New York is inspiring. He has led the effort to ensure that half-fare Metrocards go to the 12,000 veteran students in New York City, and he hosted his first committee hearing at a local shelter. The Councilman’s goals for the future include increasing the committee’s budget from its current $2.3 million and establishing a Veteran Heritage Day. Greenfield said, “Councilman Deutsch’s commitment to public service and his dedication to his Chairmanship have made him a vital voice for veteran affairs in New York City.”