2007-05-30 / Seniors

Senior Spotlight

Spitzer To Offer War Vets Aid Program

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Governor Eliot Spitzer, tackling a variety of problems affecting New York state's war veterans, has announced a $10 million program to provide vets with low-interest mortgages.

The governor stated in a news release, "We want to do all we can to help those who are serving our nation during wartime. That includes ensuring that their dependents and loved ones at home receive the assistance they need."

The governor's announcement also included a program of expanded social services for veterans and their families. These address the multiple needs of military families dealing with lengthy deployments overseas and with the stress of service during times of war.

The state offices of Mental Health (OMH), Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Children and Family Services (OCFS), and Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will offer the various programs.

Spitzer's plan, which was announced several days after he visited Fort Drum upstate, also includes some special programs for vets and their families residing in towns near Fort Drum.

Under the $10 million lowinterest mortgage plan for eligible vets, the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) will provide mortgage rates "substantially lower than conventional financing", according to the governor's office.

In addition, closing cost assistance, construction incentives and remodeling financing provided by SONYMA would greatly increase the ability of vets to buy a home or improve one they already own, the story said.

OFFER FREE BURIAL SPACE FOR VETS: Veterans living in New York City have been offered free burial space by owners of Washington Memorial Park in the town of Mount Sinai in Suffolk County.

According to an advertisement appearing in yesterday's New York Daily News, the offer was being made by Washington Memorial Park because "there are no National Veteran Cemeteries in the five boroughs of New York".

The ad explained: "A grave in a National Veterans' Cemetery cannot be reserved in advance and may not be available at the time of death."

Anyone wishing to receive a deed for a free burial space at Washington Memorial Park, with no charge for the property, must be an honorably discharged member of the U.S. armed forces, the ad says.

It adds: "Adjacent plots for family members can also be obtained, but this is optional and not a condition of this complimentary space offer."

According to an office staff member at the cemetery, which is about 65 miles from New York City, the burial ground is about 150 acres in size.

The spaces set aside under the free offer for veterans are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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