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Sweeney/Madden Bill Would Allow Taxpayers To Contribute To New Jersey Veterans Haven Fund

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Steve Sweeney and Fred H. Madden which would allow taxpayers to use their gross income tax return to help fund the cost of housing and vocational training for displaced veterans at the New Jersey Veterans Haven received unanimous final legislative approval today from the full Senate.

Veterans Haven is a State operated transitional housing facility designed to provide psychological, social and vocational rehabilitation to displaced veterans. Located in Winslow, the 54- bed facility has helped over 625 homeless veterans since its inception in 1996. The program is divided into three phases: treatment, self-reclamation and community reintegration. Each phase lasts from three to six months and is tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient, the Senators said.

“This legislation would help provide a way for residents to thank the men and women who risk their lives trying to protect us and others around the world,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “It’s sad when veterans return home, and because of injuries sustained in combat and other unfortunate circumstances, they have no where to live and are unable to find employment. The contributions to the Veterans Haven program help pay for training to help veterans become self-sufficient – we owe them that chance.”

“This bill is about helping to treat some of the illnesses and side effects of combat, that so often go unaddressed in our service men and women,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “It is about helping to provide a chance for these veterans to live self-sufficiently and to provide for their families. The Veterans Haven program helps these men and women to overcome some of the side effects brought about by the trauma of combat so that they can live and prosper here at home.”

The Senators’ bill, S-1496, would require that the gross income tax form be revised to include a check off box allowing taxpayers to donate a portion of their refund to the New Jersey Veterans Haven Support Fund.

Under the bill, the Legislature would be required to annually appropriate the funds to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which houses the Veterans Haven fund.

This measure was approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee on February 26, 2007. It now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature will make it State law.


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