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Nassau to offer veterans housing

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announces, at the

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announces, at the site at 689 Main Street, a new homeless veteran housing initiative in Westbury. (July 2, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

County Executive Edward Mangano has announced plans for Nassau's first-ever temporary housing for returning U.S. military veterans, which will be funded through a $1.5-million grant from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

"It will be much more than just housing," Mangano said. "There will also be counseling and referral services here for these veterans."

Mangano, a Republican, made the announcement Tuesday in front of 689 Main St. in Westbury, a block-long commercial building that will be renovated to house 53 veterans at a time and a total of about 200 a year, Mangano said.

North Hempstead Town Councilman Angelo Ferrara, the town board's only Republican, said officials had to scramble "quickly to amend the town code to allow a temporary care facility . . . The veterans deserve our support."

No town Democratic officials were present for the news conference.

The New York Veterans Advocacy Group, an Oceanside based not-for-profit agency, will administer the HOME grant money and the Westbury facility. HOME is the largest federal grant to local governments exclusively for affordable housing.

Mary Joesten, a founder and co-chair of the group, said 40 percent of all the homeless are veterans. On its website, nyvag.org, the agency said there are 6,000 homeless veterans in Nassau, many of them women with children.

Asked how much the temporary housing would cost the returning veterans, Joesten said, "no veteran will have to have money to stay here, but we will help them get it worked out."

Mangano said the request for proposals for the renovation is expected to go out next week.

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