Gopal Bill Helping Veterans & Families Facing Homelessness Access Resources Clears Committee

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, which would require hospitals and homeless shelters to provide information on services and resources to individuals who are homeless or military veterans, passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee last Thursday.

The bill, S-2629, would require general acute care hospitals and emergency shelters for the homeless to provide information about special services and resources to certain individuals receiving services from the hospital or shelter. Specifically, hospitals licensed in the State will be required to inquire, as part of the hospital’s patient intake process, whether the individual seeking services is homeless or is a military veteran.

“Temporarily homeless citizens are three times more likely to use emergency services than the general public,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “New Jersey already offers several resources and services for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and for military veterans. But by meeting individuals where they are with appropriate information and referral practices, more individuals could take advantage of the programs available to them.”

In addition, under this bill, emergency shelters for the homeless would be required to inquire, as part of the client intake process, whether the individual who is to receive services is a military veteran. In the event that the individual responds in the affirmative, the shelter would be required to provide the individual with information concerning special services and resources that are available to the individual based on the individual’s status as a military veteran.

Both hospitals and shelters would be required to establish standard protocols and procedures for making inquiries and providing information as required by the bill.