Reprieve from the Governor

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Jeanne Chiravallo was recovering in the hospital at the end of July when she got the delayed notice.

The state Housing Assistance Program, the funding that Jeanne and 3,000 other people in New Jersey who have been deemed disabled rely on to pay rent, had been cut.

Without the $821 per month in assistance, Chiravallo knew there was no way she could pay for her Lambertville apartment.

"I started crying, I started going crazy," she said, "I called the state."

And while it looked at first like Chiravallo would be kicked out of her apartment as early as November, on Tuesday she found out she had a temporary reprieve from Governor Chris Christie.

The state had decided to extend benefits for an extra four or five months, while trying to encourage the people in the program to move in with relatives or with private agencies.

The Housing Assistance Program is a pilot program the state has repeatedly extended. It is designed to keep people who have been deemed disabled and unable to work from homelessness.

"These are the people who aren't able to work," said Roni Todd-Marino, the social services director at the Lambertville nonprofit Fisherman's Mark, "They have a true disability. So it's a physical disability, intellectual disability, like a developmental disability. Or they have chronic mental health needs so they've never been able to work."

"This isn't that idea that there are these people freeloading off the system,” Todd-Marino said, “These is people who have been deemed disabled."