Interagency Council’s Working Group
Explores Reducing and Preventing Homelessness
On April 29, 2015, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Acting Commissioner Charles Richman testified in front of the New Jersey Assembly’s Budget Committee. As he noted in his remarks he has “accompanied more than a few commissioners to these hearings – both as an Assistant Commissioner and more recently as a Deputy Commissioner.”
Richman highlighted the recently launched Housing First initiative in Camden.
“We are investing 45 federal Housing Choice Vouchers in this project because it had been reported to us that one percent of the users of emergency rooms in Camden account for 30% of the cost of emergency room services. The project will take a data based approach; the selection of individuals will be partially determined on an examination of hospitalization records. There is also a strong evaluative component built into the project design. We believe that the Camden project will save lives and reduce the Medicaid dollars that are currently paying for preventable hospital visits.”
Richman reported that:
“All together, we will be distributing approximately 585 vouchers, both SRAP and federal Housing Choice Vouchers to provide permanent supportive housing and reduce homelessness.”
NJCounts 2014 found 13,900 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey on the night of January 28, 2014.
“Reducing homelessness is a critical priority for the Administration … The initiatives I have just described are evidence that we take both the problem of homelessness and the Council’s recommendations to heart.”
Richman speaking about the recent announcement of the Governor’s Permanent Homelessness Working Group – the result of the work of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Although Monarch Housing is pleased that Governor Christie has formed a Working Group to further explore ways in which to reduce and prevent homelessness in New Jersey, these reports indicate that there is a pressing need for action now so that our neighbors who do not have a place to call home tonight can secure permanent and affordable housing.
Click here for his full testimony.