A pair of bills sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) would address homelessness within the Garden State as well as senior abuse and neglect.
The first bill would focus on providing safe places for homeless people to stay following medical treatment. The bill was backed by Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15).
Meanwhile, Vainieri Huttle joined Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-7) in sponsoring legislation that would protect the elderly and other vulnerable adult fs from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
The bills passed the Assembly Health Committee and the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee, respectively.
Providing Safety to the Homeless
The Vainieri Huttle-sponsored legislation would give hospitals that wish to address issues related to housing insecurity the ability to construct or rehabilitate housing for this population.
New Jersey is home to more than 8,860 homeless people, according to the latest estimates. Even more are considering “housing insecure” even if they are not currently homeless.
The Assemblywoman noted medical complications that arise or worsen due to homelessness could be addressed by tackling the underlying issue of housing insecurity.
“Providing stable housing and other critical support would change so many lives while also benefiting our healthcare system. This initiative would be helpful to everyone,” said Vainieri Huttle.
Protecting Vulnerable Populations
The legislative package would modernize laws regarding conservatorship and guardianship in the state. Both measures would make other changes to existing law aimed to encourage ethical conduct in conservatorships and guardianships.
About one in ten Americans over the age of 60 experienced some form of elder abuse, ranging from physical or mental abuse to financial exploitations.
Additionally, disabled people are at higher risk of suffering abuse, exploitation, or neglect when compared to the general population, with about 30% of those with disabilities reliant upon daily care experiencing some form of abuse.
“Every person deserves to age with dignity,” said Vainieri Huttle. “We may face illness, disability or physical decline, but we should never face abuse. By strengthening protections for older adults and our most vulnerable, we are helping to keep our elderly loved ones safe and safeguard our own futures.”