Trenton Impact Speaker Interviewed Walking to Congressional Reception

Robert Brooks

Congressional Reception Message: Stop Cutting the Housing Budgets, Increase Budget for Housing Programs that Work

The July 25 Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C. garnered coverage by regional and local press.

On the morning the Congressional Reception, WCAU, the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC, interviewed impact speaker Robert Brooks as he and other advocates exited their bus from Trenton and Westville. The advocates were walking to the Congressional Reception event in the Dirksen Senate Building. The interview and video footage aired on NBC 10 in Philadelphia.

“More than 350 advocates from the Garden State are in Washington. They are urging New Jersey’s congressional delegation to oppose proposed cuts to programs that give the state’s residents access to affordable homes,” began the reporter.

“The advocates say that the cuts would be devastating and would put families out on the street.”

“We don’t want them to stop funding programs like this,” said Robert Brooks. “Stop cutting the budgets, they actually should increase the budget because these programs work.” Robert lives In Trenton and is a constituent of U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12.) He received mental health support and services from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. A veteran, he is working on finding permanent housing and attending Camden Community College.

At the end of the news segment, the reporter highlighted that “Organizers of today’s trip hope to persuade a politician to our affordable housing or a program that is ending homelessness in New Jersey.”

Prior to the Congressional Reception, on July 24, News 12 New Jersey reported that “Homelessness Advocates Head to DC to Push for Housing Funding.” The news story shared the story of another impact speaker, Nichole Allen, a Cranford resident who is a constituent of U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7.)

“Single mother Nichole Allen keeps a photo of herself and her son taken during the nine months that they lived in the Family Promise shelter in Union County as a reminder. She is now renting her own home in a neighborhood that she says she loves in Cranford.”

“I feel like I’m a voice for the homeless,” she says. “They need help, and they need some hearts of compassion.”

On July 22, New Jersey 101.5 reported that “Hundreds From NJ Head to DC to Protect Funds for Housing.” The news story included an interview with Monarch Housing’s Kate Kelly, “After the day trip, she says there is hope that dialogues will continue with U.S. senators and representatives and their staff.”

“Maybe they will connect with some of the constituents and the agencies that are in Washington and visit a site, tour some affordable housing, tour a program that’s ending homelessness,” says Kelly.

The Congressional Reception got a mention in the Hill Happenings. “The themes of this summer’s Congressional Reception will once again be “No Cuts to Housing” and “Opportunity Starts at Home.” Cuts are hurting our communities that serve low-income families, the homeless and those with special needs.”

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