As part of the Federal Government's American Rescue Act, Nassau County will receive almost 400 million dollars to be used for COVID-19 relief. Today, Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello joined with other elected officials and other representatives from community organizations at the Albertson VFW Post 5253, to advocate for a COVID-19 relief fund to be created using a portion of the American Rescue Act money
Representatives of American Legion, VFW and Elks Hall spoke about how they are behind on rent, struggling to keeps the lights on, and facing having to make the decision to sell their buildings. Some have even had offers to buy their buildings.
Officially, these organizations have not been eligible for any other federal assistance or loans. Since they have not been able to be open during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not been able to derive revenue, and cannot pay their property taxes and utility bills.
The Legislature’s plan for a community organization COVID-19 relief fund would be in two parts: the first part would reimburse these organizations for the money they have lost over the last year when they could not be open for events. The second part would be the implementation of on-going relief grants which would be provided to these organizations until the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic are fully lifted.
"Nassau County must allocate COVID relief monies to veterans, fraternal and similar organizations which own buildings in our communities. These organizations have not been able to hold events for over a year but still must pay tens of thousands of dollars in real property taxes,” said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello. “Many of the organizations are faced with the stark reality that they may have to soon close their doors if help does not arrive. The veterans and fraternal halls are part of the very fabric of our community, and we must do everything in our power to help them to remain open until they can get back to holding events."
“We need this help badly,” John Incremona, Commander of VFW Post 5253 said. “Before COVID-19, we were making money and were able to afford the repairs needed for the building. Now, after nearly a year of no events, we have not made that money back. We welcome any help we can get.”
A full video from the press conference can be seen HERE.