The commissioner shall ensure that at least one veterans resource center is established and operational in each borough by no later than June 1, 2019. Each borough shall have a minimum of 20 hours of combined field and in-office service per week, including at least 10 consistent office hours, and shall be located in a geographic area that is easily accessible, including for persons with disabilities, and in close proximity to public transportation. Notice of a center’s hours of operation shall be clearly displayed on the premises and on the department’s website.
b. Each veterans resource center shall provide veterans with up-to-date information, at no cost regarding, at a minimum, (i) matters within the department’s purview pursuant to this title, chapter 75 of the charter and state executive law section 358; (ii) housing; (iii) social services offered by public agencies and charitable and private organizations, including but not limited to the provision of specific contact information for such agencies and organizations; (iv) financial assistance and tax exemptions available to veterans; (v) discharge upgrade resources; and (vi) federal, state, and local benefits available to veterans.
c. Each veterans resource center shall provide benefits counseling services and a hard copy resource guide pursuant to section 31-108, as well as information about relevant referral services.
d. The department shall make available on its website information about each of the veterans resource centers, including its address, contact information, hours of operation and services provided.
e. The commissioner, in consultation with any agencies identified by the mayor, shall establish and engage in outreach and education efforts to inform veterans about the veterans resource centers, including their locations, contact information, hours of operation and the services they provide.
f. The commissioner shall, beginning January 1, 2020 and every six months thereafter, submit a report in machine-readable format to the mayor and the speaker of the council regarding the operation of the veterans resource centers established pursuant to this section. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, the following information for the prior six-month period, disaggregated by center: (i) the number of veterans utilizing such center; (ii) a summary of the services offered by such center; (iii) a description of the services and information most frequently requested by veterans utilizing such center; (iv) the number of full-time and part-time staff persons working at such center; and (v) the number of complaints received by and against such center from veterans regarding the services offered by such center, including feedback received by the 311 customer service center and a general description of the nature of such feedback.