TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Colin Bell and Senator Jeff Van Drew to combat homelessness of military veterans was approved today by the Senate.
The legislation (S-3449) would allow counties to prioritize grants from county homelessness trust funds for veterans.
“Over the course of my career in government, I have worked hard make sure we provide care for the men and women who served in the Armed Forces,” said Senator Bell (D-Atlantic). “As a freeholder, I tried to allocate funds specifically for veterans from the county homelessness trust fund but was told we could not. This is a simple fix that will allow counties across the state to improve their efforts to protect veterans from homelessness.”
Under the bill, the governing body of a county may by resolution establish a preference for veterans that gives first priority, in the distribution of grants, for the benefit of homeless veterans, including those at risk of homelessness. The trust funds may be used to develop affordable housing, provide rental assistance, and provide supportive and preventative services to aid the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
“Making sure that military veterans in our state have access to housing must be one of our top priorities,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic). “This will aid counties that are working to address this issue in their communities by allowing them to dedicate and prioritize funding for this very important effort.”
The bill was approved by a vote of 34-0. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.