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New York Launches Veterans App

Lucas Willard

The New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs unveiled its new mobile app to help the state’s 900,000 vets connect to important state and federal programs.

With a simple download, users can get assistance finding housing, getting a job, finding education, navigating benefits, and connecting with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Gene Loparco, an Air Force veteran who served in the Vietnam War, works with a number of local veterans’ organizations. He recommends all vets get acquainted with the services available to them, and says the app is an easy way to do it.

“I think that anybody getting out of the service should contact their counties, and if not that, check on to their own state to see what’s available to them for housing, education, medical, and so forth,” said Loparco.

The app is being is celebrated by leaders on the left and right.

Democrat Angelo Santabarbara, a member of the state Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said connecting veterans with services has been a major topic of conversation at committee hearings.

“There’s so many services, so many benefits, sometimes you don’t know about it or you’re having a problem finding the most efficient way to get to those services, so this app is a first step,” said Santabarbara.

Santabarbara, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, said he often has his own questions about finding what services he’s eligible for.

“It gets you moving in the right direction and directs you to the appropriate department to ask those questions, so it makes it more efficient.”

In addition to providing links to agency websites, the app also has a “Near Me” feature. An individual anywhere in New York can find the addresses and contact information for the nearest Division of Veterans’ Affairs field offices and County Veterans Service Agency offices.

It also provides news on the latest updates on state and federal programs.

Republican Kathy Marchione, a member of the state Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs, also had praise for the app.

“They need more of these good ideas such as this app, and we owe so much to our veterans who defended our liberty and keep us safe, I think this is just a terrific new approach to being able to find services.”

The app is free and available forAndroid and iOS devices. For more information visit: www.ny.gov/mobileapps

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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