In response to over 250 cases and more than 95 tragic deaths among residents of New Jersey’s three veterans homes, Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) who chairs the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee released the following statement:
“The loss of life in our veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus is a terrible tragedy that has understandably caused a lot of heartbreak and pain for New Jersey residents. My heart goes out to each of the veterans and their family members affected by this pandemic.
“We are working together to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in these homes, including sending in National Guard medics and federal Veterans Affairs nurses to help offset staffing shortages and make sure the residents are taken care of.
“As our state and our country deals with this unprecedented crisis, we are seeing first-hand exactly where extra support is needed to help prevent such terrible outcomes from ever happening again.
“The CARES Act in March allocated funding to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to go towards helping our country’s veterans. I urge the VA to make sure some of that funding is distributed to New Jersey’s veterans homes to help our state protect the veterans living in these facilities.
“I also urge the federal government to keep veterans in mind and make sure any future economic relief legislation includes additional funding for them. We cannot abandon our vets at a time when many of them are at such great risk.
“Federal government funding is crucial to helping as many veterans as possible, not only during the current crisis, but in the event of a second wave of illnesses or any other future pandemic. We owe it to the people who put their lives on the line for our country to keep them safe.”