“According to the NJ Counts 2015 report on the state’s homeless by Monarch Housing Associates, there were 695 veterans last winter living in shelters, transitional housing, or out on the street.”
NJ Counts 2015 provides a “snapshot” estimate from one night in January or February and may be an underestimate.
Still, there is reason for hope, according to Kate Kelly of Monarch. In a blog post on Wednesday, Kelly wrote that the VA in New Jersey housed 1,282 homeless veterans in fiscal year 2015, twice as many as two years ago, and 87 percent of those housed remain stably housed after a year.
“On its website, the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs estimates the state’s population of homeless former military men and women at between 2,500 and 3,000.”
She reinforced that advocates are working towards the goal of moving all homeless veterans into their own apartments.
The White House, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) are prioritizing ending homelessness among veterans a priority, with the goal of ending veteran’s homelessness by the end of the year.
Now that the federal budget deal has been signed into law, now is the time to let New Jersey’s congressional delegation know that including funding for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers should be a top priority to include in the final FY 2016 appropriations bill.
The appropriations bill should include $75 million for new Veterans’ Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, as the Senate bill does.