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New York sets aside more resources for homicide victims' families

WBFO News file photo

Last year, the state spent $2 million to cover the funeral costs for over 500 homicide victims. The passage of a new law will allow for more help to mourning families.

"If you can help, helping families move on, this bill is something that's designed to do that," said State Senator Patrick Gallivan, who co-sponsored the bill with Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Gallivan chairs the Crime, Crime Victims and Corrections Committee.

"Six-thousand dollars is a lot of money for families. And, then, of course, you're adding on top of the fact that their loved one was murdered," said Gallivan.

The bill, which was recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo, also looks to ease bureaucratic delays. 

"If you don't have $5 or 6,000 laying around, you end up having to finance the funeral which you can only imagine how terrible that is," said Agape Fellowship Baptist Pastor Kinzer Pointer. "Because every month you've got a payment. So, as long as you've got that debt, you've got no closure."

Gallivan says the new legislation was prompted by a request from the Office of Victim Services. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.