Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury) introduced a new county bill that would support veterans during a conference at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6394 in Syosset Wednesday.
The 21st-century “Veterans’ Bill of Rights” would entitle veterans to certain rights, including but not limited to the right to dignified housing, gainful employment, protection from discrimination and community support.
Lafazan said this legislation re-affirms the basic rights that veterans are entitled to and that must be upheld.
Lafazan said that about 5,000 veterans are at risk of homelessness in Nassau County. He said that veterans also face challenges in receiving healthcare services and experience high rates of unemployment.
“There is so much work to do,” Lafazan said.
The legislation would also commission a study in order to identify how veterans are served in the county and additional resources that could be implemented, including recommendations for investments such as new technology and healthcare advancements.
That study would then be reported back to the legislature in a public meeting.
Lafazan said the timing of this bill is important as Memorial Day approaches just days after his announcement.
“A day in which we honor the hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives to this nation over the course of our history, it’s an important time to also renew our commitment to taking care of those veterans right here in Nassau,” Lafazan said. “So as people celebrate the weekend, it’s important not only to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice but also to reflect on how we’re serving our veterans right here in our backyard.”
Lafazan, who sits on the Veterans Committee, said serving the county’s veterans has been a top priority for him.
During his tenure in office, Lafazan has introduced legislation including protections for veterans against housing discrimination, to build transitional housing for veterans and assist unemployed veterans in securing county jobs.
The Veteran’s Bill of Rights would potentially add to this list of veteran-serving legislation.
“So this is another installation of action that I think we need to be taking to help our heroes,” Lafazan said.
As the legislation has now been proposed, Lafazan said the next step is drafting the final language for the bill. He said he will also be reaching out to his colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to seek out co-sponsors.
In the meantime, Lafazan said county residents who support the bill can call their legislator to ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor and help pass the bill.