Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (A.6551/S.2238) to establish a reserved bed day policy for people residing in New York State Veterans’ Homes. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont), will ensure that veterans do not lose their spot in New York State Veterans’ Homes during medical leave.
Requiring NYS Veterans’ Homes to reserve a bed when a veteran temporarily leaves prevents individuals from losing their housing. This bill also assists veterans’ homes by requiring the state to reimburse them for reserving beds for veterans who are out on leave. NYS-run veterans’ homes were greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this new stream of funding will go a long way in helping veterans and their families.
The signing of this bill is a culmination of years of advocacy by veteran’s organizations, legislators, and veterans who have served our country.
“No veteran should be at risk of losing their bed in a New York State Veterans’ Home because they face a medical emergency. By requiring facilities throughout the state to establish a bed hold policy, we will protect the livelihoods of veterans and ensure they have access to quality care and housing. This law will also offer financial reimbursement to New York State Veterans’ Homes to allow them to stay afloat during financially difficult times. I thank Governor Hochul for supporting this legislation and acknowledging the veterans who have served our country” stated Assemblymember Solages.
State Senator John Brooks said, “I would like to thank Governor Hochul for signing this important bill into law that will protect our most vulnerable veterans. For anyone residing in a State Veterans’ Home, they will now be protected should they ever need to temporarily seek care elsewhere and will not be forced to surrender their spot in the Home. It is not uncommon that our State Veterans’ Homes are at full capacity, and, under the current system, if a veteran needed to leave for a day or two for a procedure or specialized care, they would be unable to return or maintain their reserved spot because it would have already been given to another veteran on the wait list. As a result, this bill is a huge victory in ensuring that the most vulnerable members of our military community are unburdened by the stressors that come with finding and keeping a steady source of shelter.”
“On behalf of all of us at the Long Island State Veterans Home we are grateful to the legislature for taking action on this important issue. New York State veterans have risked their lives to protect the everyday freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We should be doing everything we can for any veteran who resides in any of the five State Veterans Homes in our great state. This new legislation will give peace of mind to all those who have served, as well as their families. New York must continue to be a leader in serving our veterans. This bill proves that we honor their service to our nation!” Said Fred S. Sganga, Executive Director of the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University.
—Submitted by NY State Assembly