Congressman Bill Pascrell: We are All in This Together and Fighting to Boost Access to Affordable Housing in New Jersey
Among Congressman Pascrell’s 40 constituents at Hill Day was Josh Copeland who spoke at the Congressional Reception about the impact of homelessness on his life. Boris Zaydel with the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) introduced Josh.
“We create affordable and supportive housing to help people who are disabled or who have addictions and would benefit from federal affordable housing programs,” said Boris. “That’s why we are here today to advocate against federal housing cuts. The most impactful message that I can get across to you, doesn’t come to me, it comes from Josh, one of the tenants in our supportive housing programs.”
“Continued HUD funding for Housing First programs is key to creating opportunities to transform lives,” Boris told Monarch Housing.
Josh Copeland lives in Patterson in a Housing First apartment that he received through assistance from NJCDC.
“When I was 22 years old, I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And a lot of the jobs that I used to do that would allow me to put a roof over my head because I didn’t have a college education, I couldn’t do anymore,” said Josh. “After being prescribed pain medication, I began abusing it and got addicted to heroin.”
In July 2013, Josh decided to enter recovery and he received affordable housing. Josh told the audience, “It gave me the opportunity to go back to school, to focus on my recovery. I’ve been able to go back to the community college in my area. I currently have a 3.9 GPA.”
“A guy who used to live under a bridge, now with a roof over his head, can succeed in the community that he lives in,” said Josh about his success story. He now volunteers at a local community center. “It’s all because I don’t have to worry about providing a roof over my head … Now I have an opportunity to better my life and my community and these proposed cuts could jeopardize that … My story is something that can be replicated,” says Josh.
Congressman Bill Pascrell praised the success of the Superstorm Sandy disaster relief funding that he helped champion. “But many people get hit by Sandy every day,” said Congressman Pascrell.
“We sponsored legislation to make Low Income Housing Tax Credits permanent,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell. “I’m fighting for meaningful tax provisions that will boost access to affordable housing in our state.”
Congressman Pascrell said that he supports the message “No Cuts to Housing” stating “I’m totally opposed to the administration’s absolutely cruel housing budget.”
Congressman Pascrell concluded his remarks with a call to action. “Our brothers and sisters cannot just simply be called our brothers and sisters …We are all in this together.”
“We have a problem in housing throughout the United States, whether you talk about rural America or densely populated cities. If I don’t do my job and if I don’t help make the situation better, then you better find someone else to do by job.”
Monarch Housing was joined by 38 partner organizations in planning and supporting NJ Hill Day.
The video was taken by Jay Everett of Monarch Housing.