STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION
Assemblyman RAJ MUKHERJI
District 33 (Hudson)
Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
Assemblyman TIM EUSTACE
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Assemblyman JOSEPH A. LAGANA
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Establishes “Veterans Affordable Housing Section 8 Voucher Pilot Program.”
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act establishing the “Veterans Affordable Housing Section 8 Voucher Pilot Program.”
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. As used in this section:
“Homeless” means an individual without permanent domicile who is living outside, or in a building not meant for human habitation or which the person has no legal right to occupy, or in an emergency shelter, or in a temporary housing program which may include a transitional and supportive housing program if habitation time limits exist, or temporarily in the home of another household, or in a motel.
"Veteran" means any citizen and resident of this State honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in time of war in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.
b. The Commissioner of Community Affairs shall establish and operate a project-based voucher pilot program under the federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program for veterans and their families who are confronting homelessness or are residing in unsafe housing.
c. The commissioner shall annually allocate to the pilot program at least 1.5% of the unencumbered amount of the budget authority allocated to the Department of Community Affairs’ Housing Choice Voucher Program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during each of the five years following the date of enactment of this act.
d. The commissioner shall annually announce the availability of project-based vouchers for veterans pursuant to the “Veterans Project-Based Section 8 Housing Voucher Pilot Program” by publication of a request for proposals through an open competitive process.
e. The commissioner shall administer the pilot program in accordance with the provisions of this act and in compliance with the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program regulations and requirements.
f. The commissioner shall not award project-based vouchers under the pilot program for newly constructed or rehabilitated housing units unless at least 50% of the units at the premises are reserved for occupancy by veterans or households where a veteran is the head of the household and the veteran or household is currently homeless, at imminent risk of becoming homeless, or the veteran is disabled and in need of access to supportive services.
g. In awarding vouchers under the pilot program, the commissioner shall consider the following factors:
(1) geographic diversity,
(2) availability of supportive services on site, and
(3) proximity of supportive services to the proposed project location.
h. The commissioner shall report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), on the pilot program within two years of its implementation and make any recommendations the commissioner deems appropriate.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to establish and operate a project-based voucher pilot program under the federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program for veterans and their families who are confronting homelessness or are residing in unsafe housing. The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program assists in making safe and quality housing in the private rental market affordable to low, and very low-income households by reducing housing costs through direct rent subsidy payments to landlords. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The bill would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to annually allocate to the pilot program at least 1.5% of the unencumbered amount the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides to the State Department of Community Affairs’ Housing Choice Voucher Program for five years.
According to the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, New Jersey has among its homeless population an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Our nation and our State, grateful for its hard won freedom and democracy, owes a special debt to veterans. That there are so many falling through the gaps in our society is a call to action. This bill is intended to help restore dignity and purpose to those who so unselfishly laid their lives on the line for our country.