TRENTON - Legislation sponsored by Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Troy Singleton and Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, which would direct the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs to fund a portion of the legal services provided to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness, was passed by the Senate today.
“It is unacceptable to allow our veterans to go from serving our country to living on the streets when they come home,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Our veterans sacrificed time away from their families, friends and work in defense of our freedom so we must do everything possible to assist them during difficult and trying times in their lives. They deserve to be treated with dignity and should have the best services at their disposable.”
“No one who serves our country should ever be at risk of becoming homeless,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “These veterans deserve to have legal representation when it relates to their well-being, as well as safety and security for their families.”
The bill, S-2525, allows the Adjutant General to enter into agreements with entities located in the northern, central and southern regions of the state. The legal services would include the following:
- Legal services related to housing, including eviction defense, representation in landlord-tenant cases, and representation in foreclosure cases.
- Legal services related to family law, including assistance in court proceedings for child support, divorce, estate planning and family reconciliation.
- Legal services related to income support, including assistance in obtaining public benefits.
- Legal services related to criminal defense, including defense in matters symptomatic of homelessness, such as outstanding warrants, fines and driver’s license revocation, to reduce recidivism and facilitate the overcoming of reentry obstacles in employment or housing.
- Other legal services as the Adjutant General deems appropriate.
The bill would permit the Adjutant General to require entities entering into agreements to submit reports periodically on legal services provided to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 40-0.