TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Bob Smith and Jim Beach that would help to combat the rampant homelessness within the veterans’ community and ensure New Jersey veterans access to affordable housing was signed into law yesterday.
“The men and women who have served heroically in our nation’s armed forces should not have to come back stateside to a situation where they do not have a roof over their head,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex. “This law is a big step to ensure that, no matter what their financial situation, veterans will have access to the American Dream that they have fought so courageously for – including renting a home, and establishing roots within a community.”
The law allows municipalities to enter into agreement with developers to provide preference to affordable rental housing for low and moderate income veterans of up to 50 percent of the available affordable housing units within the project.
“We have an obligation to do more to help our returning veterans – heroes who have put their lives on the line to protect our country – transition back into a civilian life,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden/Burlington. “We are already making great strides to ensure that they have job training opportunities available to them. By providing veterans access to affordable places to live, we will further ensure that they can live with the honor and dignity that they have earned in service to our country.”
According to the Center for American Progress, one in seven homeless people in America is a veteran. Nationwide, there are more than one million veterans at risk of becoming homeless, with tens of thousands currently without shelter.
The bill was unanimously approved in both the Senate and General Assembly.