Veterans’ Health

Project Title

Strengthening and Connecting Veterans’ Peer Support Programs Statewide

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Veterans’ Health

Date Awarded

March 15, 2024


Central NY



In Progress


New York State is home to nearly 600,000 military veterans and welcomes an additional 4,000 each year who are transitioning from active duty into civilian life.

For new veterans, the transition from military service to civilian life can be an extra challenge, as they may also face relocation and a perceived loss of purpose. Despite challenges, veterans often do not ask for help until a crisis and may be reluctant to speak with someone they believe would not understand their circumstances; they can feel more comfortable opening up to a fellow veteran. That dynamic makes peer-to-peer programs an effective approach; peers are equipped to offer practical skills and information, as well as shared experience, social connection, and hope. In New York State, the most widespread peer mentor program for veterans is the State’s flagship Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program; it reduces isolation, increases social connectivity, and connects veterans with community-based resources. In 2022, the State roughly tripled the overall program budget and paved the way for the program to expand statewide. In 2024, NYHealth awarded Clear Path for Veterans a grant to maximize the impact of the State’s investment, expand high-quality veterans’ peer-to-peer services, and formalize a statewide peer mentor coalition to spread best practices and educate policymakers about ways to sustain and spread effective programs. NYHealth is also supporting a complementary initiative with the Hudson Valley National Center for Veteran Reintegration.

Under this grant, Clear Path will build on its expertise as one of the State’s top-performing providers of the Dwyer Program across seven Central New York counties. It will conduct outreach to engage veterans in its newly launched mobile peer mentor program, reaching 15 additional counties. Clear Path will also use its mobile van to reach veterans in a variety of community settings to connect them with peer support and resources. It will identify and partner with a New York State academic institution to further evaluate its peer mentor services, with a focus on identifying replicable program elements and tactics that other peer mentor programs can adopt. Clear Path will also partner with the “New York State Dwyer Coalition” to compile and disseminate best practices and evaluation results with stakeholders. It will provide technical assistance and training to peer mentor providers who are interested in starting a new program or strengthening existing services, covering topics such as learning how to apply for State Dwyer funding; ways to standardize program elements and metrics; targeted outreach; and mentor/mentee recruitment and matching.