Situation Calls for Need for
Increased HUD Funding
A recent Courier-Post article, “Chronic Poverty Leads Many to South Jersey Motel Rooms,” makes the case for why it is so critical for Congress to fund the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s homeless assistance and affordable housing programs at the highest levels possible.
Many individuals and families in southern New Jersey live in motel rooms because affordable housing is not available.
“New Jersey’s high living costs compound the problem, along with a shortage of affordable housing, high rental rates, a lack of shelter space and an ever-shrinking patchwork of funding and programs designed to assist needy families.”
The HOME program is one of the key HUD funded affordable housing programs.
“In Camden County alone, a 38% reduction over the past two years in federal HOME Investment Partnership block grants has meant nearly $1 million less for affordable housing and housing assistance, according to Gino Lewis, county director of community development and chairman of the Homeless Network Planning Committee.”
Some families have lived in motels for as long as two years. Permanent and affordable apartments would provide stable and safe homes to the households living in motel rooms. But households living in permanent affordable housing can be connected with job training and employment services. In order to strengthen their applications, local continuums of care in southern New Jersey recently joined together to apply for federal funding for vouchers but more vouchers through the HUD funded Housing Choice Vouchers are needed to truly end homelessness.
“In Gloucester County, families wait up to four years for the vouchers, used to pay rent for Section 8 (now know as Housing Choice Voucher) housing.”
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