NJCounts 2016 Finds 20% Decrease in Homeless Veterans
Governor Chris Christie signed legislation into law legislation that requires the state Department of Community Affairs, the state division of housing and community resources, to consult with the state department of military and veterans affairs and provide preferential status to veterans who quality for affordable housing assistance.
“From the start of this administration, Governor Christie made a commitment to help former and active service members, particularly those who have found themselves homeless, unemployed and in need of assistance,” spokesman Brian Murray said.
Veterans in New Jersey will now receive priority status for affordable public housing which will help move homeless veterans off of the street and into permanent, affordable homes.
S-855/A-2088 was unanimously approved by both houses of the state Legislature.
The number of homeless veterans in New Jersey decreased by 20% over a year ago. This decrease is in line with the federal government’s goal of eliminating veteran homelessness.
“We have made more progress than ever before,” U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald said on a conference call with reporters. “Solving homelessness is about more than just a key to your own place to live. No veteran should ever have to call the street a home,” reported The Star-Ledger.
On January 26, 2016, NJCounts 2016 found 556 homeless veterans in New Jersey. This number is down from 696 homeless veterans in 2015. Statewide, NJCounts 2016 found 8,941 homeless men, women and children in New Jersey which was down from 10,211 in 2015.
Governor Christie’s signature of the legislation requiring the Commissioner of DCA to promulgate rules and regulations providing for veterans’ affordable housing assistance preference comes on the heels of the Governor’s announcement of statewide Housing First program which will fund 400 new rental vouchers for chronically homeless households and 100 new rental vouchers for homeless veterans.
NJCounts is the annual Point in Time count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the state of New Jersey.
NJ Counts takes place during the last 10 days of January in accordance with requirements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Monarch Housing Associates coordinates NJCounts.
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