Singleton, Corrado Bill to Assist Homeless Veterans Clears Budget Committee

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Kristin M. Corrado that would expand the current pilot program to authorize grants to purchase and rehabilitate abandoned homes for homeless veterans cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“It is unacceptable to allow our veterans to go from serving our country to living on the streets when they come home,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington).  “Our veterans sacrificed time away from their families, friends and work in defense of our freedom so we must do everything possible to assist them during difficult and trying times in their lives.

“By restoring abandoned properties and making them into livable homes, we are providing these men and women with safe and secure housing. Clearly, the benefits of this legislation are twofold – we are providing housing for otherwise homeless veterans while also helping to rehabilitate communities one house at a time,” said Singleton.

The current pilot program established by the “New Jersey Housing Assistance for Veterans Act” authorizes grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate existing primary residences of disabled or low-income veterans. This bill would amend the Act to expand the purposes of the pilot program to include the purchase and rehabilitation of abandoned homes for homeless veterans.

Under the bill, S-2607, a nonprofit veterans’ organization that has experience in rehabilitating housing for homeless veterans would be eligible to receive a grant to purchase and rehabilitate abandoned homes for homeless veterans.  The bill would afford a preference in awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that serve communities that are in the greatest need of homeless services.

“Veterans should never have to wonder where they will rest their head at night. Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much for us already, we must do everything we can to guarantee these heroes have a warm bed and a roof over their heads,” said Senator Corrado (R-Bergen/Essex/Morris/Passaic).  “Many New Jersey nonprofit organizations are building hope and restoring homes for local homeless veterans. By extending additional grant money to such organizations, these volunteers will be able to buy and rehabilitate more abandoned properties to provide our veterans with the homes they earned.”

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 12-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.