Veterans’ Health

Grantee Name

ETS Sponsorship Program

Funding Area

Veterans’ Health

Publication Date

January 2024

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

July 2022 – July 2023

Each year, more than 200,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life; 4,000 of them resettle in New York State.

The transition from military service to civilian life can be challenging. The combined stresses of a perceived loss of purpose, geographic relocation, financial uncertainty, and underlying medical and psychological issues have led researchers to deem this period as the “deadly gap”—when new veterans face suicide rates more than two times higher than their civilian counterparts. A lack of communication and coordination at the federal, state, and local levels also hampers service members from getting a head start on their transition and being connected with the resources they need for a successful reintegration. New veterans are often left to navigate reintegration on their own. The Expiration Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP) has created a scalable program that proactively addresses veterans’ needs before they leave active duty by using unique data dashboards and pairing veterans with peer mentors (known as sponsors) and resources in their destination communities. In 2022, NYHealth awarded ETS-SP a grant to expand its program within New York State and connect service members leaving active duty and transitioning to veteran status with peer mentors and community resources.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Enrolled more than 500 veterans planning to live in New York into its program, with less than half requesting a peer mentor sponsor for assistance during their transition.
  • Connected 183 veterans planning to live in New York State after their time in the service with appropriate services and benefits within 12 months of transitioning out of the military, surpassing its original goal of connecting 150 veterans.
  • Identified and certified 3 community partners as Community Integration Coordinators, who trained 129 volunteers in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to become sponsors for veterans transitioning to New York State.
  • Added suicide risk screening to its enrollment process to expand its capacity to provide immediate referrals to behavioral health providers as required.
    • As a result, identified 5 veterans bound for New York State as having high risk of suicide and connected them to behavioral health providers at VA within 24 hours of screening.
  • Shared results of housing and food insecurity benefit requests from transitioning service members with VA and the U.S. Department of Defense to improve the delivery of federal transition services.
  • Through a strategic partnership with Google, shared detailed analytics with State agencies to allow for real-time information updates on transitioning veterans, which previously took at least 90 days.
    • Found that enrolled veterans are 65% more likely to apply for VA health care and 30% more likely to report feeling connected to their community compared with those who did not participate in the program.

ETS-SP decided to share arrival information with New York State and local communities for all veterans who consented, regardless of whether they requested a sponsor. This step expanded the impact of this grant beyond original expectations and has become a model ETS-SP has replicated across the country.

This project exceeded original expectations in enrolling veterans in services and was successful in having nationwide impact. At the same time, ETS-SP connected with only a fraction of the service members who chose New York as their home after service. Additional refinement of outreach efforts and partnerships could help ETS-SP reach more of these transitioning service members, including more of those relocating to rural communities, in the future.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A