Friend: Veterans Deserve Continued Support From State

Assemblyman calling for restoration of $6 million of funds for veterans programs

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) joined veterans and his Assembly Minority colleagues in calling for the restoration of $6 million in funds for veteran programs. The funding supports a number of programs including the Joseph P. Dwyer peer counseling program which the governor has cut by $4 million in his proposed budget.

“Our veterans have more than earned our steadfast support. Disappointingly the governor is not showing the same kind of respect that many New Yorkers give our veterans by cutting their important funding,” said Friend. “The $6 million cut to veterans programs must be restored in this budget to continue the good work being done to support their mental health and help them transition to civilian life.”

The following are programs which would be affected by the $6 million cuts in the budget:

  • Helmets-to-Hardhats - $200,000: a program assisting post-9/11 veterans transition into careers in the building trade;
  • Clear Path for Veterans - $200,000: provides professional skills development, career training, peer and wingman services, and K-9 therapy;
  • NYS Defenders Association Veterans Defense Program - $500,000: Provides training, legal assistance and support to provide legal representation for veterans and service members; and
  • SAGE Veterans Project - $100,000: provides services for LGBTQ veterans to help improve their access to VA and other services.

Friend also sponsors legislation, A.9149, calling for a study on converting the Department of Veterans’ Services to an administrative agency independent to the executive department. If such a conversion is feasible, veterans’ services will be less impacted by the whims of any governor’s budgetary agenda.