About a month ago, Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) filed a pair of bills that set out to combat homelessness of those who have served our nation. Now, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran made it official, signing both bills into law on April 30.
The two bills address the situation specifically regarding Nassau County, where about 5,000 veterans are homeless, about to become homeless or face housing insecurity issues.
“We have an estimated 5,000 veterans in Nassau who are homeless or at risk of being homeless—that is unacceptable,” Curran said. “No one who risked their life for our freedom should have to spend their nights sleeping under a train overpass. The legislation package I’m signing into law today represents a big step towards ending the scourge of veterans homelessness in Nassau County.”
This initiative from the county has created the Nassau Commission on Ending Veteran Homelessness, “which would be tasked with completing a detailed study of veteran homelessness and offering recommendations toward the establishment of a future transitional housing facility in the county.”
Additionally, the Human Rights Law in Nassau County received a fresh revision, banning anti-veteran discrimination in the real estate market across the area.
“Collectively, we are renewing our iron-clad commitment to our veterans,” Lafazan said. “Our men and women in uniform have a great deal to worry about—the mission at hand, the welfare of their unit, their families back home and their personal safety. They should never have to worry about finding a dignified place to live when they come home.”
The commission will have a 12-member panel, including department heads from the county, social service groups and veteran/homeless advocates. Kyle Rose-Lauder, a representative of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency and Deputy County Executive for Health and Human Services, will co-chair the commission. It will convene by June 1, with recommendations being made to the legislature and county executive by Oct. 31.
“I am proud to support all legislation that will help protect and support our veterans and first responders,” Legislator John R. Ferretti Jr., chairman of the Nassau County Veteran and Senior Affairs Committee, said. “That is why I was a sponsor of a bill in the legislature that will provide free tuition to gold star families and the families of fallen first responders.”
The Dignity for Our Heroes bill, as Lafazan labeled it in April, states that “existing county funds will be analyzed so that no less than $250,000 in county funding can be assigned to transitional supportive housing services for homeless veterans or the transitional housing curriculum.”
“Dignity for Our Heroes eliminates discrimination based on veteran status and works to address the lack of transitional housing for homeless veterans,” Senator Jim Gaughran said. “These important steps will move Nassau County towards the goal of eradicating veteran homelessness.”
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