The Mercer Alliance is supportive of the priority recommendations contained in the report. Of particular note is the recommendation to adopt Housing First as State policy. A policy that the Mercer Alliance and its partners have been forerunners in successfully developing and implementing in our community; and had made a key component of recommendations of the New Jersey Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2014. Included in the Housing First recommendations were suggestions to redirect Emergency Assistance policies, eliminating “compliance review” determination of individuals “causing their own homelessness, and allowing lifetime benefits. Additionally, collaboration across systems and funding streams, and prevention are recommended as priorities.
These are certainly key victories for advocates and providers, and are essential to the establishment of effective and sustainable Housing First systems.
We are reminded, however, that the Transition Team’s reports are “purely advisory”. Nonetheless, they constitute a promising approach to addressing homelessness and housing needs under Governor Murphy’s administration.