WAPPINGERS FALLS – Congressman
Sean Maloney (D- NY18) announced to the Castle Point Veteran’s Hospital
Advisory Board that rumors of the VA hospital shutting down were, indeed,
Monday night, Maloney told the board that he had spoken with the Secretary
of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and he assured
him the VA hospital at Castle Point would not be shutting down.
“It has been a priority for me to make sure that for the facility
I represent that there be real clarity for the veterans in our area who
depend on this care, who rely on this care, who appreciate and enjoy the
care they get here, that it will be there for them,” Maloney said.
The lawmaker told the VA chief that he was going to hold him to the commitment
to keep the facility open.
Maloney relayed the secretary’s response as being, “Sean,
I’m signing in blood. There’s no plans to close Castle Point
and you can take that to the bank; so, I want veterans in this part of
the world to know that this facility will be there for them going forward.”
The congressman told the board that the secretary was very direct with
him during their 30 minute phone conversation and that he believed his
responses to be truthful. He has assured the veterans of the area not
to worry because their care will still be there, indefinitely.
Maloney also discussed continuing work on legislation for off-shore veterans
who succumbed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam Era, spousal survivors
of deceased veterans having access to their deceased spouse’s benefits
and the Mayoral Challenge for homeless veterans.
Maloney said the numbers of homeless veterans were, “appalling”
but, that housing them was, “doable and we can do this.”
Dutchess County Director of Veteran’s Affairs Nelson Eddie Rivera
said that the known homeless veterans in the City of Poughkeepsie, at
least, will be brought to zero by December through their housing efforts.
So far, eight of the 73 jurisdictional leaders in Maloney’s district
have signed on for the Mayoral Challenge against veteran homelessness.