ASSEMBLY MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 2098

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  APRIL 4, 2016

 

      The Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee reports favorably Assembly, No. 2098.

      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.

      This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2016-2017 session pending technical review.  As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.