Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) recently toured several local veteran organizations in Clinton and Franklin counties and hosted several roundtable discussions with North Country veterans.
“Many brave New Yorkers have made incredible sacrifices for our country, and they deserve all the support we can give them,” Assemblyman Jones said. “I’d like to thank these veterans for their service, and for speaking with me and helping me better understand their specific questions and concerns, which helps me craft better legislation to fit their needs. I’ll continue working to ensure our veterans have access to essential services and programs when they return from duty.”
The tour began in Clinton County with a visit to the North Country Veterans Association (NCVA), a roundtable discussion at the American Legion Post 1619 and a tour of the new community-based outpatient Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic in Plattsburgh. In Franklin County, Jones toured the Saranac Lake VA clinic, visited with members of Homeward Bound Adirondacks and hosted a roundtable discussion at AMVETS in Malone.
Jones is currently working to secure $250,000 in funding to assist Homeward Bound in the construction of their new facility designed to house and assist local veterans. Additionally, in the 2021-2022 state budget, Jones secured $100,000 in funding for the NCVA for a total of $400,000 over the past 4 years, which provides assistance to veterans and their families in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. The budget also:
- included $5 million in funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project to provide peer-to-peer support for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other behavior or mental health challenges;
- reestablished the existing state Division of Veterans’ Services call-in line to connect veterans directly to Veterans Benefit Advisors;
- extended tuition benefits for eligible members of New York State’s military forces to attend college in New York State for five years; and
- extended the Hire-a-Vet tax credit, which offers a tax credit for employers who hire veterans, for two additional years.
Jones is currently supporting a bill to establish the veterans’ services law and a state Department of Veterans’ Services, which will help make benefit programs and services more readily accessible to veterans and their families (A.8294). He is also working to secure funding for Homeward Bound, an organization that advocates for veterans and provides them with transportation services, crisis outreach and support groups.