The NYC Department of Veterans’ Services is pleased to announce the establishment of the NYC Private First-Class (PFC) Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Fund. We are seeking Requests for Information (RFI) from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations which support the mission of increasing social engagement and connectivity for U.S. Military Veterans and their families. Our goal is to provide Veterans peer-to-peer support through recreational, artistic, athletic, culinary, educational, community, health and wellness, and community building programs.
To view/access the RFI search the following EPIN: 06323Y0007 in PASSPort's Procurement Navigator.
Review the Dwyer Support Fund RFI Questionnaire here.
Optional information sessions covering the Dwyer Peer Support Fund Request for Information (RFI) and enrolling in PASSPort will be held virtually (with telephone access) at the following dates and times via Microsoft Teams.
Those who wish to attend these virtual sessions should RSVP by email to DVSDwyer@veterans.nyc.gov. A meeting link will be emailed to those who RSVP to each session.
PLEASE NOTE: this is an RFI seeking information only from interested organizations. There will be no award based on this RFI. However, if any organization wishes to do business with any City of New York agency, they will first need to be registered into the NYC’s PASSport System. Veteran Business Leadership Association (VBLA) lead, Edgard Hernandez, at Atlas Company can help support your registration efforts.
Additionally, the Mayor's Office of Contract Services (MOCS) holds a monthly in-person workshop called "Your Neighborhood," designed to provide prospective contractors with the critical support needed to contract with the city and use of PASSport.
Despite the array of programs and services available for Veterans, a 2021 community survey conducted by DVS revealed that one out of four NYC-based Active-Duty Service Members, Reservists, National Guardsmen, and Veterans say that they are lonely three or more days per week. Only one-third of lonely respondents feel as though they have someone they can approach when they are in need; having someone to approach is defined as having a person with whom one can share joys and sorrows on at least three days per week. Moreover, when asked how likely they are to seek help for emotional distress, 40% of all lonely respondents would be somewhat or very unlikely to do so.
The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program, first established by the State of New York during the 2012-2013 legislative session, aims to reduce Veteran isolation and associated mental health issues by having Veteran community members meet with fellow members in secure, comfortable settings; this helps them cope with emotional issues caused during or exacerbated by their military service. In essence, the program builds a unique healing community whereby Veterans and/or their loved ones integrate into a life-affirming support system, enabling them to successfully reset and acclimate to civilian life.
The Dwyer Program exists in 25 counties throughout New York State. New York localities that have received funding through the program ascribe to a diverse cross-section of intervention modalities. For the first time, the City of New York has been awarded funds to establish its own program for up to one-year.
For funding consideration, the program must empower the Veteran community, be in-person, and free to Veterans, their caregivers, families, and survivors.
DVS has identified the following priority areas of focus for its support. A Respondent’s proposed services need not meet all areas listed but should align with at least one of these areas. Services should be administered in an in-person group setting rather than one-on-one.
Note: the examples given below are not all-inclusive. If your organization provides a service not listed and you believe it might be appealing to the Veteran community, we encourage you to answer the question that requests this information.
Examples of Services to be Offered to the Veteran Community:
Animal Assisted Modalities
• A visitation program in which animals accompany their owners to a facility and visit with program participants. Animals should be temperament tested, given a complete veterinary screening, and receive obedience training before beginning to work with participants. Animals for consideration include dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.
• Different types of equine-assisted therapy including therapeutic horseback riding, hippotherapy, equine-assisted learning, and equine-assisted psychotherapy. Instructors are required to hold current Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association (EAGLA) certification and operate a EAGLA model program.
• Various body-centered therapies that uses mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help release the pent-up tension that negatively affects a participant’s physical and emotional wellbeing. A few examples of these therapies include, but are not limited to: yoga, meditation, pilates, and martial arts.
• Various uses of the creative arts as a form of therapy including: art therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, writing therapy, poetry therapy, film, and psychodrama. The expressive therapies assume that people can heal through many forms of creative expression.
• Build social connections and provide stimulating conversations through exposure to a host of art, culture, history, civics, science, and other learning programs that spike the interest of Veteran groups.
Culinary Arts Instruction
• Culinary arts instruction uses cooking as a means of communication and expression while learning life skills and tools. It has the benefit of reducing stress, improving time management, and increasing self-esteem.
Community Construction Programs
• Leads teams of Veteran volunteers in building, repairing and renovating community-based facilities and homes in under-resourced neighborhoods, or for under-resourced New Yorkers.