On Friday, Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin was joined by State Commander Daniel Dunn of the American Legion Department of New Jersey for a tour of Hoboken Legion Post 107.
The Speaker has made housing security a top priority for the Assembly this session as part of Democrats’ legislative affordability agenda. On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, during which we honor military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, legislators also honored the legacy of living veterans by voicing support for initiatives to provide access to safe, decent, and stable housing.
“The services provided to our veterans by the Legion are invaluable,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “After everything these individuals have sacrificed in service to our country, we owe them a debt of gratitude. As we look at ways to boost housing security, I commend the work the Legion is doing in support of our most vulnerable veterans and see great potential in expanding Hoboken’s supportive housing model.”
Accompanied by 33rd District Assembly legislators Raj Mukherji and Annette Chaparro, Chair of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Cleopatra Tucker, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee Yvonne Lopez, and others, the group was shown the Veterans Center of Hoboken, which currently houses previously homeless veterans in its six studio apartment units.
“Eradicating veteran homelessness is the first step toward combating homelessness across the board,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson). “By coupling affordable housing with vital supportive services to keep those who defended our nation in uniform off the streets, American Legion Post 107 honors all veterans and has created a model that is now being emulated by other posts. When we enacted in 2017 the Veterans Affordable Housing Section 8 Voucher Pilot Program, which I authored, the Legislature also set aside vouchers to help more of these projects come to fruition.”
“The work the Legion has done to provide affordable housing and services for our military veterans is truly remarkable,” said Chaparro (D-Hudson). “We owe this support to our veterans and this plan will ensure they are able to have the homes they deserve.”
There is a 20,000 square foot expansion of the supportive housing initiative planned for the Hoboken Legion, which will include an additional 18 housing units that provide secure and affordable housing along with other vital services for veterans.
“Hearing the daily struggles and realities our veterans face is crucial in developing policy that honors and truly helps them,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “I am struck by how transformative the onsite housing at the Legion has been for the veterans able to live in such close proximity to a broader veteran community.”
“New Jerseyans’ housing needs are endlessly diverse and, right now in this economy, it has been difficult to make ends meet and keep a roof overhead,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “The kind of approach the Legion is taking to integrate care for our homeless veterans is something that demanded a closer look and seeing it in action I believe this model will be successful to support veterans in other parts of our state.”
Legion officials also that they are eyeing to replicate the supportive housing initiative modeled in Hoboken at three other Legion Post sites in the state, in Westfield, Montclair, and South Amboy.
Watch a video of the tour here.