Andover, MA - State representative Barry Finegold released two bold ideas today to support our nation's veterans as they return from active duty service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"These men and women put their lives on the line for us every day," said Finegold. "When they come back to America, it's always a struggle to readjust. The best thing we can do is help them get a home, get an asset, and get centered in the community. In addition, we ought to pay for the college tuition for the children of those who paid the ultimate price, to make sure their kids have opportunity."
Recent studies have shown that veterans returning from active combat in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with the crippling problems of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, a recent University of Chicago report found unemployment among veterans ages 20 - 24 to be 10.4%, nearly double the national rate. These facts illustrate some of the key obstacles veterans face in re-establishing structure after combat duty.
Finegold proposes revamping the current mortgage loan programs for our veterans, to make sure veterans can get low interest rate mortgages to buy a home. Finegold also proposes having the federal government pay for the in-state college tuition for the children of those service members killed in action.
John Ratka, Executive Director of the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill, has endorsed Barry's proposals. "I applaud Barry's initiative on these veterans issues," said Radka. "I wholeheartedly support these key proposals, as they focus on two extremely important areas of need for our veterans and their families."
Mortgage Loan Plan
Finegold's mortgage loan plan would seek to offer veterans loans backed by tax-free bonds. These bonds would function like municipal bonds, enabling our veterans to lock in lower mortgage rates.
By having the loans backed by veterans' bonds, we can not only encourage societal support for our veterans, but ensure the low mortgage rate, improving our veterans' ability to invest in their future and the future of their children.
"Today there is no difference between the rates of a VA loan and the rates of a loan from your corner bank," Barry said. "We can and should do better."
Children's College Plan
Finegold proposes that free in-state tuition be afforded to all children of soldiers killed in active duty during wartime, or children of those who die as a result of service related injuries.
"Nothing is more essential to a young person's future than his or her education. Given the traumas associated with losing a parent and potentially becoming the head of a household, our country must support educational incentives and programs for the veterans' community," said Finegold. "This proposal is a step forward."
The plan calls for children to be able to matriculate at the state school of their choice. Under this plan, qualifying students would also receive a scholarship. These scholarships would be provided at up to $2500 to go towards room, board, rent, books, and supplies. Any student in this funding program would receive tuition and scholarship for a maximum of four years of undergraduate education.