Jersey Lawmaker Pushes A Plan To Help The Homeless [AUDIO]
State Senator Dick Codey has unveiled an ambitious agenda to help homeless individuals in the Garden state.
He's sponsoring several measures designed to force emergency shelters to take in mentally ill people - who don't pose a threat to themselves or others - and provide services for a minimum of 72 hours.
Codey says right now there is significant discrimination against the mentally ill, and males in general - who usually are not allowed to stay in shelters if they are alone - and "people who are seeking shelter and want to get enrolled into any number of entitlement programs - until they can find a job - must get documentation of where they were born, social security number …all the things that we would have available to us- yet these people are homeless…so when you're homeless you can't jump in your car and go there, you can't call on your cell phone - these people don't have options…so we've got to put people on the street themselves, go to these people who are living under underpasses, and say listen, we'll take you to a government agency so you can get shelter, so you can get a hot meal, you can get a hot shower."
He points out "we have roughly 15 thousand people in the state of New Jersey - homeless today - that's unacceptable - there's no need for it…and certainly the new homeless are those who are out of work because of the economy- and they don't come necessarily from urban areas…this is a state problem and a national problem, and there's got to be better cooperation between the feds, the state, the counties and the cities to help these people."
Codey adds most homeless people "are not out to just grab money - put it in their pocket to buy liquor or whatever - no - they just want shelter, so they can hopefully move on, get a job…these are people who are out of work- out of luck - simple as that…they're different - they're younger than the normal homeless persons were 5, 10 years ago- so the face of the homeless in New Jersey has changed, and changed dramatically."