Budget proposal aims to address homelessness for veterans

Murphy proposes $30M to fund Ending Veterans Homelessness initiative

Saying it’s an effort to build on the state’s progress being made in reducing homelessness — and to help veterans — Gov. Phil Murphy proposed committing more than $30 million to fund the Ending Veterans Homelessness initiative during his budget address Tuesday.

This one-time funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is intended to be paired with $10 million in already-awarded funds from the federal government, would allow the Department of Community Affairs’ Office of Homelessness Prevention to provide 400 two-year vouchers and 250 State Rental Assistance Program vouchers for long-term/unsheltered homeless veterans.

In addition, the funding would cover rapid rehousing needs for the population (one to two years of support), as well as short-term wraparound services and long-term support to assist veterans in finding stable housing.

Murphy said it’s time to step up for those who served.

“Our veterans, who have selflessly served our country in uniform, have experienced the troubling and persistent challenge of homelessness in our state and across the country,” he said. “This budget allocation serves as a recommitment and expansion of this administration’s efforts to serve our veterans. It is our intent that this funding will reduce veterans’ homelessness in our state to functional zero.”

Jeff Cantor, the founder and CEO of the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled by the gesture.

“I’m happy that he allocated funds to help those veterans most at risk,” he said.

Cantor said his group is eager to work with the administration, the Legislature or any person or organization looking to assist veterans.

“We will continue to work with this administration to move the needle forward for all veterans, including those that own businesses or seek more meaningful employment,” he said. “The veterans chamber will work with anyone who wants to advance the opportunities for veterans.”