Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. Addresses Over 60 Constituents at Hill Day

Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.: Every Person Should Have the Right to Live in a Home

Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) addressed the crowd of over 450 New Jerseyans at the July 26 Congressional Reception about the importance of housing and his support for “No Housing Cuts.”

Among Congressman Payne’s over 60 constituents at Hill Day were Bob Davison, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris County, Theresa Pringle and Lisa Fails who addressed the Congressman and the audience.

Bob Davison told the audience how Congressman Payne has been a friend to the issue of mental illness and to those living with mental illness.

“The Congressman does not need a policy speech from me on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance grants, on Medicaid, on HOME Investment Partnerships, on Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, on the National Housing Trust Fund, on tax reform or on the importance of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The Congressman can give me a policy speech and give us a policy speech on all of these issues because he believes in them and he knows how important they are to the individuals that he represents in his district – all of the individuals in his district, those that are homeless and those that suffer from mental illness and addiction,” said Bob.

“I have been homeless for two and a half years,” Theresa Pringle, a resident of Newark, told the audience. “I have extensive background in social service and I had to quit my job, go on welfare for $140/month just to get a shelter housing voucher for a bed.”

“More and more people are paying more than 60% of their income towards rent,” said Theresa.

Theresa Pringle“Yet the homeless counts may have statistically gone down but the unaccounted homeless … these numbers have not gone down,” said Theresa.

“When you leave here today, I hope that you will remember my face as the new face of homelessness, someone that has worked, had a good job and had to quit just to receive a voucher,” concluded Theresa. “Effective July 1st of this year, 2017, I received my housing voucher.”

“Please don’t make the working-class people like us have to choose between a roof and medication,” she told Congressman Payne and his colleagues in the New Jersey’s congressional delegation

Lisa Fails lives in Jersey City and told the audience, “I am a 52-year-old mother and grandmother and I became homeless in January 2016. This was my second time being homeless. The first time, I had five children who were in school.” She found a job but her family still had to move “house to house” and her family was split up. But then she lost her job and became homeless again. She found it very stressful to look for a new job while experiencing homelessness.

Lisa Fails“We need this funding because there are many others that are out there struggling even to have a studio apartment,” said Lisa. As of August 14, Lisa will be going to school to become a Certified Nurses Aid. Her housing is stable and her mind is at ease but she still needs assistance and gave a call to action “We need to push for them not to cut this funding.”

Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., told his constituents and others in the audience, “The gap is just growing. More people that were finding themselves in the middle class, that were in the upper class are finding themselves sliding down to areas that our communities that have been in all our lives.”

“I fight for people. I understand that I’ve been given a lot and there are people who don’t have the opportunities I’ve had,” said Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., “So, it’s my obligation to do everything that I can do to make sure they have those same opportunities.”

“Every person should have the right to live in a home in this country that is clean safe and allows you to be part of what this great country has to offer,” concluded Congressman Payne.

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.

You can follow the coverage of the Congressional Reception in the news on Twitter and Facebook at #NJHillDay, #NoHousingCuts and #OurHomesOurVoices as well as on our website.

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