Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined his colleagues in the Assembly Minority today, as well as Americans Veterans (AMVETS) National Executive Director Joseph R. Chenelly, who the assemblyman had invited to speak, for a press conference proposing a much-needed pandemic relief package known as “Invest in Vets.” The proposal would invest $500 million within the New York State Budget to support services for veterans and veterans’ organizations, including $250 million in operational funding from the COVID-19 Public Health Response Fund and $250 million in capital funding for the State and Municipal Facilities (SAM) Program.
This package would support the Dwyer Peer Support Program for returning veterans, suicide prevention efforts, PTSD treatment and research, and many other endeavors in support of active duty and former military members. Notably, it would make funds available that could be used by veterans’ organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion to maintain their facilities. VFW Halls, American Legion Posts and similar gathering places are incredibly valuable community resources for veterans, providing them a chance to connect with other former service members who can provide them insight into their experiences transitioning to civilian life as well as the resources available to veterans locally.
“If our state budget is going to be one of the largest in the nation, the support we offer our veterans should be among the most comprehensive in the country, but unfortunately that is not the case,” said Hawley. “Today I call on my partners across the aisle in the Legislature and Gov. Hochul to include this critical funding package within this year’s final budget to better support our veterans and help connect them to local resources in their communities.”