New Jersey Needs an Interagency Council on Homelessness

BY CONNIE MERCER

When a Plainfield apartment building was condemned last week, their residents, over 70 families, given less than twenty-four hours of notice to move out, were forced to face the cruel reality that they might soon be homeless. Fortunately, swift and heroic action from the
Departments of Human Services, Community Affairs, and Education, and Union County and
City ensured that those displaced would have access to shelter that very night.

This 24-hour effort to provide displaced families with temporary shelter shines a spotlight on the power of collective government action and underscores the need for a permanent collaboration framework. In order to ensure similar collaboration is possible in the future, we urge the swift passage of bill A4105 which establishes an interagency council on homelessness that ensures seamless communication, shared strategies, and optimized resource allocation between critical state departments and their non-profit partners. Interagency councils on homelessness are effectively utilized by thirty-nine other states and jurisdictions.

The New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness calls upon legislators to champion this pivotal step toward lasting change. Let’s transform last week’s adversity into an opportunity for a more secure, equitable future, where the well-being of all residents is upheld.

Connie Mercer, Chief Executive Officer
NJ Coalition to End Homelessness

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