Governor Wants Housing
Recipients to Prove Hardship
On May 3, 2016, NJAdvance Media reported that “Christie vetoes bill to restore help for homeless, wants people to prove hardship.”
The bill was sponsored by Democratic lawmakers after two temporary emergency housing assistance programs were terminated and assistance to 3,000 people ended.
These programs served the very poor and vulnerable populations – chronically ill and disabled populations and households where someone cares for a sick or disabled spouse or child. These individuals and households were left without other housing options and homeless.
Governor Christie partially vetoed a bill that:
“Would have permanently restored housing assistance to thousands of chronically homeless and disabled people who lost aid when the program expired last year.”
“I cannot sign a bill that would fundamentally alter the purpose of this temporary program, potentially undermining our focus on finding permanent housing solutions for those in need.”
Christie wrote in his veto message released on Monday. He opposed the part of the bill that would make the formerly temporary program a permanent one.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), a sponsor of the bill (S983), said she was disappointed with Christie’s decision but she would try to work on a compromise.
“While I’m disappointed the Governor didn’t sign this bill into law, I’m glad he recognizes the need for this emergency assistance for some of our most vulnerable.”
“Considerable research demonstrates that permanent housing supported by case management is extremely effective in combating family and individual homelessness. New Jersey, and in particular, Mercer County, has made effective use of Emergency Assistance (EA) in its Housing First and Rapid Rehousing models that are recognized as national models that constitute good social and fiscal policy.
The veto of this legislation and the imposing of further restrictions on the access to EA take a significant step backward in ending homelessness and changing the lives of our most challenged citizens. We need to do better or the human cost will be more than we should be willing to consider.”
Said Frank Cirillo, Executive Director of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, a member of the Anti-Poverty Network.