Trenton – In an effort to encourage private investment in public health services, the Senate advanced legislation today sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Senator James Beach and Senator Troy Singleton which would establish a five-year social innovation loan pilot program to allow for private investment into public health services.
“As New Jersey continues to battle the maternal mortality crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic, it is critical we are pursuing creative solutions to address ongoing public health challenges our residents face,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Organizations outside of the public sector have proven successful in creating innovative programs to provide treatment and support services to some of our most vulnerable communities. Incentivizing private investment in these programs is the right thing to do from both a public health and an economic perspective.”
The bill, S-4312, would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to establish a pilot program to guarantee loan agreements among lenders, eligible organizations and public sector entities.
“Programs aimed at preventing and treating substance use disorders are cost-effective ways to make sure people are getting the help that they need,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “By working with non-profit organizations we can increase their reach and allow them to help more people within our communities, bringing us closer to an end to this horrible epidemic.”
The bill would establish the social innovation loan fund which would be used to guarantee the loans issued under the pilot program. The fund would consist of state appropriations, public or private donations, grant funding, federal funds and program fees.
“New Jersey has outstanding non-profits around the state doing significant work in addiction treatment and prevention. This legislation would provide those groups with additional funding to bolster their opioid abuse programing,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “By increasing the funding to organizations that are already in the community doing the work, we can address this issue in a way that is both cost effective and efficient.”
The bill would also establish the Social Innovation Study Commission to identify eligible non-profit programs for loans, solicit donations for the fund and help negotiate terms and conditions for loan agreements.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 37-1.