The Nassau County Legislative Majority today joined County Executive Bruce Blakeman to announce that the county is creating a program to provide grants for veterans’ halls and facilities. The grant funds will come from federal American Rescue and Recovery Act (ARPA) monies. The program is intended to help veterans’ halls and facilities, which sustained financial losses as they were not able to rent the facilities for catered events during the COVID lockdowns.
Veterans groups were not initially eligible for ARPA funds under guidance issued by the federal government. Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and the Legislative Majority led the effort to make veteran organizations eligible for loans and grants available to qualified small businesses and non-profits. The Treasury Department has now expanded ARPA eligibility to include 501(c)(19) entities, which applies to veteran organizations. The new rule takes effect on April 1, 2022.
On March 30, 2022, Nicolello joined County Executive Blakeman and members of veterans organizations to announce a new county program in which the county will provide grants of up to $10,000 in ARPA monies for veteran organizations that own their own buildings and rely on catering hall affairs and events to pay for their buildings.
“We heard from numerous veteran groups who were facing major difficulties paying rent, property taxes and maintenance on their venues, which were forced to cancel catered events and other functions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns,” Nicolello explained. “There was no reason to exclude veterans’ groups from receiving federal relief funds. With all that veterans have done and are continuing to do for our nation and communities, there should not have even been a question of eligibility.”
“As a retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel, I have always made veterans a priority and it was clear that they deserved to be included in the eligibility guidelines created by ARPA,” Legislator Bill Gaylor said. “There are dozens of these facilities in Nassau County and in many cases, they serve as the centerpiece in our communities while performing important charitable work and promoting the social welfare of its members. The ability to receive financial relief caused by the pandemic will help them continue to play that role.”