Why are Former Offenders Homeless?
Every month, about 50 men and women come back to Mercer County, having been incarcerated in state prison. Many of them immediately become homeless, because various governmental rules prevent them from accessing necessary services and housing opportunities. There are also barriers in place to their employment. Without permanent housing and steady jobs, they are far more likely to reoffend and be sent back to prison at a considerable cost to all of us. We can't expect these folks to become productive citizens, if we effectively tie their hands behind their backs.
Over the next several weeks, due to the leadership of Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, a package of bills is being considered by the New Jersey Assembly that could really give these folks a second chance. The bills provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end homelessness for this group of men and women, who constitute one-third of our local homeless population.
These bills will not pass without our letting legislators know how important this is to us. We will be putting action items on our website relative to each of these Assembly bills. Each one will also have a Senate version.
- A4197 - Strengthening Women and Families Act
- A4198 - Post-Release Employment Act
- A4199 - Administration of Correctional Facilities Act
- A4201 - reduction of Recidivism Act
- A4202 Education and Rehabilitation Act
- A4203 - Criminal Penalties Act
The first hearing is this Monday. You can take action right now, by sending an email to the Senate Judiciary committee. It will take about one minute of your time.
Taking action is easy—just click this link to send members of the Senate Judiciary a message telling them to vote Yes on S1866.
You can also help us make the biggest impact possible by forwarding this email to friends, colleagues and to your mailing lists. If you have a Facebook page, put the link there. If your organization has a website, please consider posting the link to our action alert on the site.
You can also click the "Share this message with others and Forward to a
Friend" links at the bottom of this email.
Together we can get this critically important legislation passed by the end of the year!
Thanks for all you do to help end homelessness in Mercer County.
article was published this week in both “The Times” and “The
Trentonian”. 31% of local homeless populations were recently discharged from
prison or jail. The Second Chance legislative package offers the best chance
yet for ending homelessness for this population.