Ivan Shares His Story of Childhood Homelessness

We Need More Housing Choice Vouchers in NJ to Give Families like Ivan’s Homes of their Own

Ivan Wei is one of the fourteen individuals impacted by homelessness who will speak on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at the 2019 Congressional Reception in Washington, DC. Ivan will talk about his experience with homelessness at a young age. Ivan will also speak about the necessity of expanding the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Ivan Wei

Ivan lives in Fair Lawn, New Jersey and is a constituent of U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5).

Ivan’s experience with homelessness began before he was even born. When his mother was pregnant with him, Ivan’s father died. After her husband’s death, Ivan’s mother could no longer afford her monthly mortgage payments.

As a child, Ivan and his family lived wherever they could find shelter. They spent time in family members’ homes, shelters for women who were victims of domestic violence, and homeless shelters. By the time Ivan was five, his family had moved eleven times.

Eventually, Ivan and his mother found an affordable home in Hackensack, and they’ve lived there for more than twenty years. Ivan, his mother, and his brother live in an apartment which does not provide enough space for the family of three. While he is incredibly happy to have a place to call home, he says that he does not have the luxury to move to a home with more space for all of them.

His family waited on a list for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for twelve years. Twelve years is an incredibly long time to wait for housing assistance.  We need to advocate for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and ensure that it is adequately funded.

The family’s apartment does not have adequate air conditioning.  They can only use one of the air conditioning units at a time without blowing a fuse. However, Ivan and his family cannot afford to upgrade their air conditioning system. In addition to advocating for an increase in the supply of affordable homes, Ivan calls on policymakers to ensure that affordable homes are adequate for those who live in them.

In his free time, Ivan enjoys beekeeping and helping grow his family printing business. He’s honored to speak at the 2019 Congressional Reception to help advocate for increased funding for vital affordable housing programs.

Families deserve affordable and accessible housing. More affordable housing developments are required across New Jersey and the United States. Expanding and increasing funding for Housing Development is one of the 2019 Congressional Reception Federal Policy Priorities. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit is one of the main financing tools for affordable housing developments, so elected officials must support increased funding for this vital program.

Join Ivan and the 33 Congressional Reception Partners at this year’s event in Washington, DC to let our elected officials know that Opportunity Starts at Home. Register today to ensure you can attend the Congressional Reception!