HHS Secretary Polanowicz Opens New Veterans' Assistance Center at Soldiers' Home in Holyoke
Secretary highlights Governor Patrick's growth agenda and revenue proposals that will support investments in veterans’ services
HOLYOKE — Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz today joined veterans and local officials for the grand opening of the Veterans’ Assistance Center at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. During his visit, Secretary Polanowicz highlighted Governor Deval Patrick’s growth agenda and revenue proposals that will support enhanced services for veterans and residents across the Commonwealth.
"The Veterans’ Assistance Center will help us ensure that every generation of Massachusetts veterans has access to the benefits and services they deserve,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “The Governor’s budget and critical investments will allow us to maintain this strong foundation of growth and nation leading services for our veterans and most vulnerable populations.”
The Veterans’ Assistance Center will provide veterans and their family members with information and assistance on eligibility and application for state and federal benefits, disability services, community referrals, interaction with veteran service agents.
"The opening of the new Veterans' Assistance Center in Holyoke is another example why Massachusetts leads the nation in caring for our Veterans," said State Senator Mike Rush (D – West Roxbury), Co-Chairman of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "The Patrick-Murray Administration has always supported enhanced services for our veterans in all of their budgetary and legislative proposals and I am proud to continue to work with them to provide benefits and services to the servicemen and women, veterans and their families to whom we owe so much."
Those served will include residents of the Soldiers’ Home, those using out-patient or dental services, veterans from communities throughout western Massachusetts, and veterans returning from conflict overseas.
“The new Veterans’ Assistance Center in Holyoke will be a great way for veterans to take advantage of the benefits they should be receiving,” said State Representative Carlo P. Basile (D - East Boston), Co-Chairman of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “This facility is another way we can support our soldiers; we must continue to keep veteran rights our highest priority.”
The center will be staffed with certified service officers from the Disabled American Veterans Chapters of Holyoke, West Springfield, and Agawam and the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center of Springfield.
“The opening of the Veterans’ Access Center at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is another example of the Patrick-Murray Administrations ongoing commitment to the men and women of our armed forces and their families,” said State Representative Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke) “With our country at war for the past decade Massachusetts need to make sure we continue this investment moving forward.”
"The Veterans’ Assistance Center is a welcome addition to not only the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home but to all of the veterans and their families in the region," said State Representative Ashe (D-Longmeadow).
Governor Patrick’s Fiscal Year 14 budget includes an increase in funding by nearly nine percent for veterans’ services. To maintain this level of support, along with investments in education and infrastructure, the Governor has put forth a revenue package that is comprehensive, dedicated and fair.
In addition to his visit to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Secretary Polanowicz visited Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Springfield, underlining the Administration’s strong commitment to providing quality care across the Commonwealth. Meeting with representatives from the Mercy Medical Center and the Holyoke Medical Center, both of which received Delivery Systems Transformation Initiative grants last year, Secretary Polanowicz focused on the importance of these health care cost containment initiatives that will help the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations.
“The Patrick-Murray Administration has consistently made veterans and military families a priority,” said Paul Barabani, superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. “The Governor’s growth agenda will help maintain this high level of support for our veterans and all people across the Commonwealth.”
Earlier this year, Governor Patrick laid out budgetary priorities in his State of the Commonwealth address. The Governor outlined the importance of investments in education, innovation and infrastructure that will strengthen our economy, and create growth and opportunity for the long-term throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor proposed a fair, competitive, comprehensive budget for FY14 that will improve opportunities for all residents, support important infrastructure investment and provide all residents the tools they need to succeed.
A reduced sales tax from the current rate of 6.25% to 4.5% would be dedicated to a public works fund. To support our education initiatives, the budget will propose that we increase the income tax by 1 percentage point — to 6.25 percent. The Governor’s budget recommendations and the strategic budget investments in education, infrastructure and innovation, will create growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth.
# # #