Veterans’ Health

Project Title

Strengthening and Connecting Veterans’ Peer Support Programs Statewide

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Veterans’ Health

Date Awarded

March 15, 2024


Hudson Valley



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 the Hudson Valley National Center for Veteran Reintegration (CVR) 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 Clear Path for Veterans.

Under this grant, CVR will formalize its “New York State Dwyer Coalition”, comprising more than 100 peer mentor programs, providers, and other stakeholders. It will host coalition meetings to identify regional goals and define a shared advocacy agenda; leverage federal, State, and local funding opportunities; educate members about best practices for communicating with policymakers; and share tools and resources for peer mentors. CVR will partner with Clear Path to raise awareness about evaluation findings and technical assistance opportunities. It will also create an online directory for local Dwyer Program providers to access centralized information. CVR will develop a shared policy agenda and action plan based on input from members, veteran service organizations, and Clear Path’s evaluation. It will also partner with Clear Path to educate policymakers about ways to strengthen the program through future policy and regulatory changes.