As you know, providing needed services and safe affordable housing for our Veterans continues to be one of Dan McCoy’s most important priorities. As a veteran, it troubles him that there are servicemen and women looking for work, struggling to feed their families or finding a place to live. We need to do more for the men and women who have served our nation.
Over 19,000 veterans call Albany County home. Far too many of them who return from service don’t have a home, a job, or even a place to sleep. Some are battling alcohol, substance abuse or other mental health issues. All of them need our help. That is why three years ago Dan McCoy started a partnership with Soldier On. For its part, Soldier On is raising money for a campus where veterans can get the assistance they need here at home. Last May a benefit concert at the Times Union Center, featuring Charlie Daniels and Marshal Tucker, raised over $40,000.
Last year, the Albany County Veterans Service Bureau provided help to over six hundred veterans looking for services. For the third year in a row we have collected thousands of coats for homeless veterans and their families.
In May he announced the opening of the Michael McNulty Center for Veteran Entrepreneurial Activity at the Watervliet Arsenal. Along with the Arsenal the County will assist our veterans as they take steps to start a business. If they need help with a marketing plan… they’ll get it. If they have legal, financial or strategic questions, they’ll get the help they need.
County Executive McCoy recently joined Senator Schumer to push for legislation that deals with the issue of the high rate of suicide among service members. The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act expands mental health services for active duty personnel and gives them the help they need to cope with the stresses of everyday life. That bill was signed into law in December. Even better news, in the first few weeks of this year, the Clay Hunt bill was passed to extend this to veterans and was signed into law by President Obama in early February.