Senator Booker Responds to Michael Folger and Tells His Constituents that “Housing is a Right”
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Michael Folger of Project Live addressed over 300 constituents at the July 25, 2018 Congressional Reception. The Congressional Reception gave New Jersey residents the opportunity to share their experiences with homelessness with their elected officials. Constituents emphasized the themes of “No Housing Cuts” and that “Opportunity Starts at Home.”
All eyes were on Cory Booker when he arrived at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium. Booker began his remarks by claiming, “I would not be where I am right now without housing activists in Newark.”
Booker thanked all of those who attended the Reception. He explained, “You being here in Washington D.C. right now is essential.”
Booker continued to explain how the fight for affordable housing and the fight for liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness in the United States is still a long journey away. He encouraged all listening to keep fighting for what they believe in.
He declared, “Housing is a right, in the same way as public education, in the same way as civil rights, women’s rights, all those rights that have been fought for by courageous souls.”
Michael Folger, of Newark, New Jersey, spoke as a constituent of Senator Booker.
Michael worked full time and lived comfortably throughout his adult life until 2001. On September 11, his life was forever changed by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Michael was in the World Trade Center when the attacks occurred, and his mother and aunt were both aboard Flight 93.
After September 11, Michael began to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and anxiety. Unable to work, he lost his apartment and car. He did not know what his options were and ended up in a homeless shelter in Newark for the time being.
He states, “I didn’t really have a lot of hope until I met someone from Project Live.”
Project Live, Inc. (PLI) is a nonprofit agency which provides a wide range of services to mental health consumers in Essex County, including residential, vocational, and supportive resources.
Michael explains, “Project live helped me acquire subsidized housing and finally have a place to call my home. Thanks to stable housing today, I am 12 years into my recovery.”
Subsidized housing helped Michael regain his physical, emotional, and mental health. Although he is now happy and secure, he still worries about others.
He declares, “I’m still worried about the increasing homelessness in Newark. It hasn’t gone away. I want to ask for increased spending which is so needed.”