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Vouchers Help Tenants Pick up the Pieces and Get Their Lives Back Together

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Vouchers Help Tenants Pick up the Pieces and Get Their Lives Back Together

December 15, 2017 – Yesterday, George, Joe, and Gretchen, individuals living in their own apartments in the Greater Freehold region, gathered to share their personal success stories telling how housing vouchers have transformed their lives.  The event took place at the Freehold First Aid Squad in Freehold, New Jersey.

These individuals were joined by Kaitlin McGuiness from U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s (NJ-D) office, Jessica Rohr from U.S. Representative Chris Smith’s (NJ-R-4) office and staff from Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, Triple C Housing and Monarch Housing Associates.

 

George first learned about Triple C’s housing voucher program in 2014.  He faced many barriers including being homeless and in recovery and having a partial amputation as a complication from diabetes which left him unable to work.  He also found himself with the custody of four minor children to support.  “I picked up the pieces and got my life back together,” said George about his life after receiving a housing voucher. 

After moving into his own apartment, George returned to school entering a construction management program and completed an internship in New York City.  “I was able to secure stable housing and now have a home for my niece and nephew,” said George.  “I am looking forward to re-entering the workforce as a construction manager.”  George says that his goal is to transition out of the Section 8 program so that others in need can take advantage of the program.  “If your name is not on a lease, you are homeless,” concluded George noting that having some place to stay temporarily is not the same as having a home.

Joe shared his story of success in housing through the assistance of CSPNJ.  Joe and his brother now share their own apartment and his life has gotten much easier.  He is better able to manage his health, adapt to his handicap, can cook in his own kitchen and observe his religion in his own home.
“Ten years ago, I was living in a car,” said Gretchen.  “This program (Section 8 voucher program) is a blessing to me.  I have been sober for eight years and had surgery to restore my eyesight which I had lost.”  Gretchen now has two young children.  “The way my life is now, it wouldn’t be possible without Triple C,” said Gretchen.  “Before I received a voucher, all of my money was going towards my rent.  I have had a roof over my head for the past 3 years.  It is so important to keep a roof over your head and I do not think I’d be sober right now without it.”

“The Senator has seen firsthand the importance of housing vouchers,” said Kaitlin McGuiness reading from a statement from the office of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.  “It is outrageous to threaten cuts to essential programs like Section 8 vouchers.  This program is not a luxury – it is a necessity.”  McGuiness encouraged the audience, “Progress is possible through the hard work of committed individuals and your hard work matters.”

Jessica Rohr told those who shared their stories that she will pass along their stories to Congressman Smith.

Moving into affordable housing and supportive housing with the assistance of vouchers allows individuals with low-incomes to stabilize their health and integrate into the community.  Once their lives are stabilized, voucher recipients rely less on expensive emergency health care.  Supportive housing allows people to grow into adults and helps people who are mentally ill change their lives and not have to depend on other people.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 165,800 people in 70,000 New Jersey households use a voucher to afford decent, privately owned housing. In 2018, New Jersey could lose 5,500 vouchers if Congress does not increase renewal funding sufficiently to cover rising rents and other costs.  This loss of vouchers would worsen homelessness and housing instability among low-income residents. 

New Jersey has seen the success of the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program as local communities are making progress in decreasing homelessness. 

The offices of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Representatives Tom MacArthur (NJ-R-3) and Frank Pallone (NJ-D-6) were invited to attend the event. 

Videos of Joaquin, John and Bill and another housing voucher recipient are available below and highlight the transformative impact of having a place to call home are at this link: https://tinyurl.com/VoucherVideos

Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ)’s Chief Financial Officer Victor Luna said that from CSPNJ’s perspective, “You can start on your recovery when you have a roof over your head.”  CSPNJ is a dynamic, statewide, recovery focused provider of housing and services to people living with mental health and addiction challenges. CSPNJ believes that our greatest resource is the life experiences of people working through their own recovery.

Richard W. Brown, Monarch Housing Associates’ CEO said, “Rents are rising rapidly and for the first time for years, including through the great recession, national homeless numbers are rising.”  Monarch Housing’s mission is to expand the supply, accessibility and variety of affordable, permanent supportive housing through development, planning, advocacy and partnerships.

Triple C’s mission is to create permanent supportive housing opportunities coupled with innovative support services empowering individuals and families to live with dignity and fulfill their utmost potential.

Contact:

Kate Kelly, Monarch Housing Associates, 908-347-1064 (cell) or 908-272-5363 x 226 (office) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Christina Serrano, Director of External Affairs, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, 732-677-1695, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA) is a statewide, nonprofit organization, founded in 1998, whose mission is to promote and maintain a strong supportive housing industry in New Jersey serving people with special needs.

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