Governor Chris Christie Takes Action to Combat Homelessness in New Jersey

Signs Executive Order to Form Interagency Council on Homelessness and Develop Ten-Year Plan

Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 92 creating the Interagency Council on Homelessness to combat homelessness as part of the Administration’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable New Jerseyans. The Council is tasked with better identifying and addressing the needs of homeless New Jerseyans as part of a longterm plan to help assist those individuals affected by homelessness and to prevent homelessness from taking hold in the future. This cooperation and planning will strengthen existing efforts by improving the coordination and delivery of programs and services to those in need.  


Governor Christie signed Executive Order 92 at HomeFront in Ewing, an organization that works to combat homelessness by increasing the availability of adequate, affordable housing for New Jersey families in need of assistance. The Governor was joined by Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez and Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs (DCA) Charles Richman. The Council will be co-chaired by the commissioners of DHS and DCA.


“Homelessness in our society often touches each of our communities in a personal way and too often fails to get the attention it deserves. It is our neighbors, friends and sometimes family members who, having fallen on difficult times, struggle to have their basic housing needs met,” said Governor Christie. “Right now, New Jersey has a strong set of services available to assist our homeless residents get back on their feet, but they are not applied in a strategic and coordinated way. We can do better to serve families who need help now, and deliver services in a more organized way to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place.”


According to a January 2012 report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, New Jersey’s rate of chronic homelessness has decreased by 20 percent, indicating progress in identifying and working with individuals with substance use disorders, disabilities, mental illness or medical issues. However, overall homelessness has increased over that same period (7%), which means there is still work to be done to support families and veterans.


“Without a place to call home, it’s incredibly difficult to secure and retain a job or nurture a family,” said Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Safe, permanent housing truly is a key factor in helping people attain self sufficiency.”


Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget proposal acts on a commitment to provide housing assistance for New Jerseyans who are in need. In addition to providing $2.3 million to expand the successful Veteran’s Haven – the veterans transitional housing program – to the northern part of the state, Governor Christie’s budget provides critical funding for housing assistance programs such as the State Rental Assistance Program ($21 million), the Homelessness Prevention Program ($4.4 million), and Shelter Assistance ($2.3 million). 


In addition, the Department of Human Services serves many homeless residents through its General Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Both provide supports that include temporary shelter placement, rental assistance, medical coverage, food assistance and job training. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget protects $78.6 million in funding for the WorkFirst New Jersey program, which helps people get off welfare, secure employment and become self-sufficient through job training, education and work activities. Other state services also are provided to homeless individuals who have mental health or addiction disorders. 


These programs have helped make New Jersey a leader in preventing chronic homelessness in New Jersey, but homelessness continues to affect too many New Jersey families. The Governor’s action today will mobilize the state government in a more efficient, coordinated and strategic manner around the goal of finally ending homelessness in the state.


“Today, we are taking action to more effectively address the needs of homeless New Jerseyans across every aspect of state government, with the goal of identifying and preventing the many different causes of homelessness. Ultimately, I believe that as leaders we must set high, achievable goals for the serious challenges we face, which is why the Council also will be charged with developing a 10-year plan to combat homeless over the long-term,” added Governor Christie.


The Interagency Council on Homelessness will be established within the Department of Human Services, be comprised of 15 public members, and operate until December 31, 2014. Its duties and responsibilities include:


·                     A review of the findings contained in the Interim Report of the Council on Preventing and Reducing Homelessness;

·                     Identifying and evaluating the statutory and regulatory impediments to the effective delivery of services to homeless individuals and families;

·                     Providing recommendations to improve relevant laws, programs and policies to better utilize state resources directed to homelessness and homelessness prevention;

·                     Preparing a 10-year plan to end homelessness in New Jersey; and,

·                     Reporting annually to the Governor on the Council’s work and progress.


The Council’s membership will be comprised of the Commissioners of the following Departments: Children and Families; Community Affairs; Corrections; Education; Health and Senior Services; Human Services; Labor and Workforce Development as well as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Chairman of the State Parole Board, the Adjutant General and a representative from the Governor’s Office.


Eleven public members will be appointed by the Governor and will include a representative of county government; a representative of municipal government; one person who is or recently was homeless; a representative of the private sector; four representatives of non-profit agencies providing housing, social, behavioral health, or health-care services to homeless individuals or families; a representative from a non-profit providing statewide coverage, technical assistance, and affiliation with a national non-profit; a representative of public housing authorities; and, one representative from the faith based community. 


In addition, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Senate Minority Leader, and the Assembly Minority Leader each may appoint a member of the Legislature, or his or her designee, to serve on the Council.

Posted: April 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Homelessness | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “Governor Chris Christie Takes Action to Combat Homelessness in New Jersey”

  1. Freespeaker1976 said at 7:36 pm on April 18th, 2012:

    Ah, don’t we already have something called COAH? Do we need another layer of bureaucracy? Where am I wrong on this?

    To me, the solution to homelessness is creating situations where GOOD AND GREAT PAYING jobs are available and people are trained for those jobs; so that they become self reliant.

    Sounds like another RINO based, social re-engineering program; of which the RINO, all Shore Girl Team will jump to endorse.

  2. not wrong, said at 11:32 am on April 19th, 2012:

    the entitlement, “mother-government” mentality is everywhere, which is why we are broke, we can’t sustain it all..in Monmouth, (always at the cutting- edge), they even did an RFP for a “10-year plan to end homelessness,” recently.. who knows why, other than someone thought of a grant again, and no one ever gives up a grant, which is still just a different pot of taxpayer money!..agree the best way is to not take other peoples’ money and give it out, but to create a better hiring climate, so folks can have the pride of work, and lift themselves up, enough is enough!..

  3. brian said at 11:47 am on April 19th, 2012:

    But,,,,but—-we are just one or two more agencies from utopia……………..

  4. TR said at 5:26 pm on April 19th, 2012:

    Not the governments job. Pure and simple it is another one of the 10 thousand things Government should not be doing. At one end of the Spectrum is helping Revell and Zanadu and at the other end is housing for the homeless.

  5. Name (required) said at 7:04 pm on April 20th, 2012:

    COAH does not help the homeless, it’s the biggest misconception out there. Do you know who benefits from COAH,builders, soe investment companies, teachers and civil service employees, those making enough money to buy a home that is affordable instead of “Affordable Housing”. You always hear the cry, oh we need affordable housing. No we don’t, we need homes that are affordably priced, period. In this economy more homes are affordable now, more than ever.

    The COAH system benefits those who draw a salary from the non-profits who cry out for the affordable housing program, COAH propaganda. Those who can afford to buy 300,000.00 dollar homes benefit from COAH. It’s a CRIME, COAH is a farce. NOT one homelesss person would ever qualify to be in an “Affordable Housing” unit. There is no follow-up or checks and balances in place for COAH, down the road when they make 60-70-80-90-100thousand a year and still living in these affordable housing units. You have engineers, teachers, police, fireman living in affordable housing units, some have the nerve to rent them out. They want you to believe that the local checkout clerk or 20 something just starting out, are the ones living in these units. They are not. The ones who need something affordale to live would never qualify for “affordable housing” . But the democrats will have you believe it’s for them and the homeless or local worker minimum wage-15.00 hour worker . IT”S NOT.

    Do they disclose who buys the” affordable housing” designated buildings that are built or who owns the “affordable housing apartment building “required by COAH within the community? NO they do not…Do you realize 30 years down the road these “affordable buildings” revert to market value units and the owners can sell them -making a lot of money . Also, the “affordable quota the town needs to make” goes up once these revert to market value. Yes sir, the cycle repeats.

    Who owns these affordable rental buildings? Many are the builders themselves who fight so hard to build, build, build. Others are investment companies, many you will find are those pushing so hard for COAH. It’s the biggest scam to the taxpayers in NJ.

    You see how hard the Democrats fight to save it, just do a little homework, it all comes to light.

    The Governor is right to help the homeless, COAH sure does not, never has, never will. COAH costs the taxpayers millions.

  6. Name Required II said at 8:48 pm on April 20th, 2012:


    Only if he creates cost effective training programs that helps them find good paying jobs for those that really want them in the up and coming industries so that they don’t find themselves in a hole again.


    If these are social welfare programs just to get homeless off the street and continues to reinforce the welfare cycle.

  7. Name (required) said at 5:13 pm on April 21st, 2012:

    When Labor and workforce also has a member on the council obviously the Governor’s goal is to give a hand up not a hand out. You should know our Governor by now, he does and expects a postive end result.
    You will see homeless helping themselves, they just need a jumpstart. Help those who want to help themselves. Teach a man to fish
    theory works. i would think there will be stipulations attached that will encourge those who are given a real chance to survive to want to survive productively on their own asap