Federal Budget Hurts Low-Income NJ Residents

Does Not Adequately Fund
Housing Choice Voucher Program

Federal Budget Hurts Low-Income NJ ResidentsA December 12, 2014, NJ Spotlight article, “Federal Budget Cuts Hurt Low-Income Residents Who Need Housing Vouchers,” features an interactive map showing where low-income households are using vouchers in community by community across New Jersey.

The article highlights the work of advocates to urge Congress “to restore housing vouchers to their pre-sequestration levels to reduce waiting lists and help more New Jerseyans afford a decent place to live.”

In 2013, sequestration, led to a loss of almost 1,600 federally funded Housing Choice Vouchers in the state. In the second quarter of this year, 64,674 families used vouchers for their housing. That was lower than the high of 65,362 at the end of 2013.

“Lack of affordable housing, rising rents and falling incomes have made it more and more difficult for many New Jerseyans, including working families with children, seniors and veterans, to keep a roof over their heads. This has been exacerbated by cuts to the federal budget that have reduced the number of Housing Choice Vouchers available to local communities in New Jersey, causing long waiting lists for housing assistance to grow even longer.”

Said Kate Kelly of Monarch Housing.

The article highlighted success stories of individuals whose lives have been changed making the case for adequate U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for Housing Choice Vouchers.

“I had been homeless off and on since 2008. This takes away all the headaches. I appreciate the voucher. I’m focusing on connecting all the dots and making this apartment home.”

Said Michael Dunlop, who had spent time in a hotel and in an apartment he could barely afford on his monthly welfare check over the last six years.

“I knew for me to be able to stop working I would have to have some help with housing,” said (Valarie) Fox, who has schizophrenia that she said is well-controlled by medication. “Without a voucher, there is no way I would be able to retire … In the early ’80s I was homeless. Getting permanent housing made me feel very much stronger mentally. It gave me dignity.”

Said Valarie Fox lives in Morris County.

The Fiscal Year 2015 Continuing Resolution-OMNIBUS appropriations released earlier this week by Congress includes $35.6 billion for U.S. Housing and Urban Development programs, about $90 million less than the 2014 fiscal year. This funding level does not adequately fund the Housing Choice Voucher program and will not further efforts to end homelessness in New Jersey.

Click here for the full article.

Click here for the webinar presentation that includes additional success stories and data from CBPP.