U.S. Reps. Torres and Garbarino Introduce The Bipartisan Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023

Nov 10, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Ritchie Torres (NY-15) and Andrew R. Garbarino (NY-02), announced the introduction of H.R. 6337, The Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation that would create a grant program to address the needs of local Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) as they fight to keep their facilities open. VSOs such as the American Legion, AMVETS, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), serve as community centers providing crucial services to veterans, servicemembers, dependents, and survivors in our communities, with many of these services often requiring the use of VSO facilitiesSeveral thousand veterans halls across the country have closed over the past decade. While the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, these veterans’ halls are still feeling the effects of being forced to shutter for events – their main source of funding – for months on end.

“Veterans’ halls are the heartbeats of our communities, where neighbors come together to celebrate life’s milestones and where veterans receive vital support,” said U.S. Rep. Torres (NY-15). “The Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023 recognizes the vital role played by Veteran Service Organizations like the American Legion, AMVETS, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, ensuring they thrive for generations. By creating a $10 million grant program, this bill empowers these local heroes with the resources they need to renovate and modernize their facilities.”

“Veteran Service Organizations provide critical resources to our veterans and their facilities serve as places for our communities to come together,” said U.S. Rep. Garbarino (NY-02). “They allow neighbors and families to gather for events like birthdays, weddings, job fairs, and other special occasions. Unfortunately, many veterans’ halls have struggled to survive over the past few years due to declining membership numbers, outdated technology, and facilities in disrepair from years of neglect, leading to the closure of several thousand veteran’s halls across the country over the past decade. The Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023 would provide a crucial lifeline to ensure VSOs can continue serving our community.”

“AMVETS supports the Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023. This bill would create a grant program to bolster local VSOs in their efforts to improve their facilities and keep them open. Our nation’s veterans deserve well-funded places where they can gather, inquire about resources, and share stories with one another. These spaces must be protected, and the Saving Vet Halls Act would help VSOs across the country continue supporting and uniting veterans,” said Joseph R. Chenelly, Executive Director of AMVETS.

There are over 100 VA-recognized, national Veterans Service Organizations that serve millions of veterans around the country. The Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023 takes action to alleviate the financial burden placed on these local veterans’ halls so that hardworking families may enjoy these halls for years to come. Specifically, this bill would:

  • Establish a $10 million grant program through the VA that allows local VSOs to apply for grants of up to $75,000 to make necessary building infrastructure and technology improvements to keep these buildings open and operational for our community.
  • Require VSOs to submit plans demonstrating the need for funding as well as the use of such funds to the VA Secretary, who would then prioritize grant allocation based on need and the capacity to complete the project.

Original cosponsors of the bill include Representatives Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04), Nick LaLota (R-NY-01), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL-23), Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY-11), Donald G. Davis (D-NC-01), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), and Thomas Kean Jr. (R-NJ-07).

The Saving Vet Halls Act of 2023 is endorsed by the American Legion, AMVETS, andthe Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). This legislation marks Rep. Torres’s continued commitment to preserving VSO facilities for New York veterans.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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