(TRENTON) - Assembly-approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Jamel Holley and Joann Downey to establish an affordable housing occupancy preference for homeless and disabled veterans in New Jersey was signed into law on Friday.
"We have a responsibility to take care of those veterans who face challenges after their military service," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Transitioning to civilian life can be difficult for many veterans. Ensuring that homeless veterans, veterans who are disabled and the relatives who care for them, have affordable places to live can help these veterans and their families return to normalcy."
The new law (formerly A-2199) establishes a veterans' preference for affordable housing in housing projects that are either operated by a housing authority, financed by a county improvement authority or are part of a redevelopment project. Under the law, the Commissioner of Community Affairs will adopt rules and regulations to establish the standards for the veterans' preference.
"Veterans put their lives on the line to serve this country. Many return from service with physical and emotional wounds that make their return to civilian life very difficult," said Holley (D-Union). "This new law helps ensure that homeless or disabled veterans who have fallen on hard times can have the peace of mind that comes with having a stable and affordable place to live."
"We have a moral obligation take care of those who stepped forward to take care of us," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "Veterans deserve better than a life on the streets. Setting up an affordable housing preference for veterans who are homeless or disabled helps to ensure that former service men and women who are struggling financially are able to secure a cost-effective place to live."
All applicants for the housing preference are required to meet the income requirements for admission to the housing project, regardless of the priority status granted under the new law.
The bill received unanimous approval from both houses of the legislature.