TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Bob Gordon that would provide emergency assistance to individuals or families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless due to domestic violence, cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.
The bill, S-2845, modifies the existing law to guarantee emergency assistance to displaced families due to domestic violence. The bill would also clarify that the assistance is not restricted to individuals or families who have left their homes, but would be available in the event that a family remains in their residence but cannot pay rent due to the removal of a domestic violence aggressor.
“So often victims are afraid to report their abuser due to the fear of losing the economic support that they depend on,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “The goal of this legislation is to ensure that families who experienced domestic violence have the necessary resources to move forward and live successfully outside of the control or influence of the abuser.”
“For victims of domestic violence, breaking the cycle of abuse requires a great deal of courage, and in many cases economic support is vital for them to gain independence,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We need to make sure families have the assistance they need to break free of abuse regardless of their circumstances. This bill will help ensure that.”
Under the bill, an applicant’s signed attestation that their state of homelessness, or of their imminent homelessness, is the result ofimminent or demonstrated domestic violence would be enough to qualify for assistance. Applicants would not be required to demonstrate documentary evidence that they have been a victim of domestic violence.
Under current law emergency assistance is provided whenever there is an indication that an individual or parent and his or her children, have left their home due to a domestic violence incident which puts at risk the health and safety of the victim and their family.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the bill by a vote of 13-0. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.