Weinberg/Gordon Bill Providing Emergency Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence Passes Senate

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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, was approved today by the full Senate.

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. “The goal of this legislation is to ensure that survivors and their families have the necessary resources to move forward and live successfully outside of the control or influence of the abuser.”

“One of the reasons that victims remain with their abusers is the fear that they will not have the economic support that allows them to get out of the vicious cycle of domestic violence,” said Senator Gordon (D- Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will ensure that these families have the resources they need to start their lives again away from their aggressor.”

Under the bill, an applicant’s signed attestation that their state of homelessness, or of their imminent homelessness, is the result of imminent 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 full Senate approved the bill by a vote of 38-0. The bill passed the Assembly in June with a vote of 75-2-0. It now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.