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American Legion helps homeless veterans

PENN YAN—Each year New York State American Legion officials visit local posts. Saturday, Feb. 12, Department of New York Commander V. James Troiola, Seventh District President Kathleen Cubit and Sons of the American Legion Commander John Rogers spent the day in Yates County. Cubit was filling in for Department President of the American Legion Auxiliary Nancy Kurk, who was ill. Kurk’s home post is in Yates County.
Each officer spoke about their division’s programs for the year. A major program this year is providing assistance to homeless veterans. Troiola said the Secretary of the Veteran’s Administration has set 2014 as the target year to have all homeless veterans off the streets. While the actual number in this situation is not known, it is estimated there are at least 65,000 homeless veterans. Troiola said the New York Department is raising funds for the project. Another goal of the program is to make the public more aware of the problem. Troiola said many veterans have had multiple deployments to the Middle East. Some come back with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries. Troiola said there are attempts being made to identify the veterans in this situation. Another hurdle is that many will not go for help.
Cubit said the number of homeless female veterans is growing. There are two homes for female veterans in New York State with a third under construction. Cubit said the nearest to Yates County is Zion House in Avon.
Rogers has dual membership in Legion organizations. In addition to Sons of the American Legion, he is also a 33-year member of American Legion. That group is also working on the project to identify homeless veterans.
The National Emergency Fund is an important program of the American Legion. Troiola and Rogers spoke about the fund which assists veterans after disasters. The fund was reestablished in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo. $6.8 million in grants has been raised. Grants to veterans who suffered losses from Hurricane Katrina.
After an evening event at Bradley-Jessup Post in Dundee, the state representatives continued their travel throughout the state. The visits, which began in July, 2010, will be complete in July.




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