Joyce Benz, a constituent of Congressman Lance’s who lives in Westfield introduced Congressman Leonard Lance.
“Federal housing vouchers are a hand up, not a hand out,” said Joyce. “It’s incredibly difficult to access a voucher,” she told the audience and she reminded them that the wait for a voucher can be up to 10 years. “I have seen time and time again that people who are able to access affordable housing have the best chance of staying out of the hospital and it saves the taxpayer money.”
“The families that I work with are hardworking families just like yours and mine,” said Joyce. “We need more affordable housing in your district, not less,” was her message to Congressman Lance.
Congressman Leonard Lance opened his remarks to the audience by telling them, “Everybody in New Jersey ought to have a residence – no matter where you live – anywhere in New Jersey”
“As we move forward in the appropriations process, I hope and expect that your voices will be heard,” said Congressman Lance.
“May we continue to work together in a bipartisan and bicameral responsibility,” said Lance. “Because it’s in the better interest of the American people that everyone in our society be provided with a decent place to live.”
“I don’t have to explain to anyone in this room what it’s like to be homeless,” said Leonard Prentice, a resident of Summit. “My message to Donald Trump … if you have a passion for building walls, don’t build them across the border across Mexico and the United States, build four walls and a roof around all of the cities and communities in the United States that need affordable housing,” Leonard told the audience.
Leonard attended the July 26 Congressional Reception because he said, “A lot of people have put a lot of work into making affordable housing funding a reality.”
“I’ll go this year and next year and hopefully, one year, we won’t need to go anymore,” Leonard told us prior to the Congressional Reception. About the goal of the Congressional Reception to tell Congress “No Cuts to Housing,” said Leonard, “That is that day that I look forward to.”
For forty years, Leonard experienced homelessness off and on. Leonard has been living in his own senior housing apartment for two years. Now that he has own affordable home, he remains connected to the homeless community in Newark. He travels to Newark two to three days a week to advocate for the homeless.