AMITYVILLE - Nassau and Suffolk county officials held a news conference Friday to celebrate the "end of veteran homelessness" on Long Island, but some who have served our country remain on the streets.
The news conference was held at the Liberty Village veterans' housing development in Amityville. A federal task force on homelessness led by HUD's regional director and the VA praised Nassau and Suffolk for "effectively ending homelessness" among veterans by making programs available to get more than 1,000 former service members permanent places to live.
Kevin, a 45-year-old Navy veteran, says he is homeless and is living with a relative. He says there are many like him living on the streets in places like Hempstead, and says officials have a long way to go to cure homelessness. "They need to dig a lot deeper, a lot deeper," he says.
News 12 asked Greta Guarton of the Long Island Coalition for the homeless why some homeless veterans still live on the streets.
"If the choice is not to receive services or not to accept services, we're going to respect that," she says.
At the Babylon train station, a number of homeless veterans told News 12 that they think the task force has a long way to go in curing homelessness among vets on Long Island.
But one 64-year-old Air Force veteran, who is also homeless, says Nassau and Suffolk and the Northport VA Hospital have many programs available now to help him and other vets like him.
HUD officials say Long Island is one of only 20 regions out of over 500 that were recognized for providing full services for veterans.