State of the State: Cuomo takes on homelessness and suicide among vets and LEOs

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In this Monday, July 1, 2019 photo, a homeless woman moves her belongings in early morning from a street near Los Angeles City Hall (in the background) as crews prepared to clean the area. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants President Donald Trump to visit the city and work with him on the homeless crisis. The Democratic mayor made the public invitation during a radio interview Tuesday, July 2, 2109, after the Republican president called the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other big cities disgraceful and threatened to intercede. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Thursday, one day after his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled an initiative to combat homelessness and suicide among law enforcement and veterans. Only briefly touched upon during Cuomo’s speech, the proposal would invest $5 million to expand affordable housing support services and $1 million for suicide prevention programs.

The State Office of Mental Health would partner with suicide prevention organizations on initiatives reducing the stigma of mental illness. Suicide rates nationally and statewide are higher for veterans, law enforcement, correction officers, and first responders, all of whom often avoid help when distressed.

Veterans disproportionately experience homelessness, and at-risk military often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse that complicates their housing issues. Cuomo would close the gap in funding for veterans and rehome them within 90 days of losing housing.

A new initiative would help homeless veterans receiving rental subsidies and federal vouchers to access state housing and support services. Cuomo also backs partnership programs that help veterans, active-duty military, and their families prepare for college and earn credit online.

Cuomo released 34 other proposals in the months and weeks leading up to the State of the State. Unlike the other proposals, this potential package of veterans’ health legislation came out after the speech.

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