Plan for Pennsylvania Veterans and Families
November 20, 2013- Howard Ondick
HARRISBURG- State Senate Democrats announced Tuesday that they're introducing
a comprehensive package of legislation intended to help Pennsylvania veterans
and their families deal with issues as they return to civilian life from
Our speakers are Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of
Allegheny County, Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County, and Senator Vincent
Hughes of Philadelphia.
At a State Capitol news conference Tuesday, Senate Democrats outlined
a 23-bill package thatâ€™s intended to help veterans and their families deal with
issues as they return to civilian life from military service.
The Saluting Pennsylvania Veterans plan contains bills
that promote veteransâ€™ education, housing and jobs -- in addition to measures
that provide financial assistance, counseling services, and relief for
families. The legislative package is designed to help veterans make a smooth
transition from military service to life at home.
As of September
30, there are some 22 million veterans in the United States,
including more than 995,000 living in Pennsylvania.
Among other things, the Senate Democratic plan features a
$40 million bond issue to provide payments to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan
Wars; a pilot peer-to-peer counseling program for veterans to address post
traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and
rising rates of suicide; $20 million for veteransâ€™ housing projects, and
veteransâ€™ preference in public housing; housing assistance grants to homeless
or imminently homeless veterans and help them with down payments or
closing-costs for veterans buying homes; increased funding for Veteransâ€™
Emergency Assistance Program, along with extended deadlines, and expanded
maximum Military Family Relief Assistance; doubling educational assistance to
help offset fees and costs and increasing the years the assistance is provided;
priority for subsidized child care to veterans and families of active duty
military; expanded eligibility for veterans in the disabled veterans tax
exemption statute; and, a task force to study health-care issues unique to
women veterans, including accessibility and quality of care.
estimate that the total cost of the Saluting Pennsylvania Veterans plan at