WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is backing a plan for returning veterans that could play well into Chenango County’s hopes for saving the older New York State Veterans’ Home in Oxford.
On any given day, there are nearly 12,000 homeless veterans living in upstate New York, including an estimated 1,100 in the Southern Tier. Even more alarming is that those numbers are likely to increase as soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan return home and other veterans continue to struggle with untreated mental health and substance abuse problems, Schumer said.
The problem needs addressing, and Schumer announced Wednesday that he has a plan to do so. Schumer is backing legislation that would provide $200 million to help communities and veteran’s groups build housing, or rehabilitate or purchase existing housing structures to provide supportive living for veterans.
The Senator’s press secretary, Max Young, said if there were a not-for-profit coalition or community group that wanted to purchase the 30-year old home in Oxford and use it to house homeless veterans, then they could tap into this funding stream.
Town of Smryna Supervisor James Bays - who has often proposed using the building for veterans - welcomed Schumer’s legislation.