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Lawmaker Wants To Stop Homeless From Being "Deposited" In Atlantic City

A South Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan to stop homeless people from being transferred from one part of the state to the other, unless social workers first agree upon a case management plan.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Assemblyman John Amodeo says for years, towns and Counties have been sending their homeless residents to Atlantic City – giving them a one-way bus ticket – and when these people can’t get into a local shelter “what happens is the homeless actually look for little niches under the boardwalk , which are hidden areas – where they can grab cardboard boxes and pieces of plywood and wood, and build themselves a protective quarter…they build themselves little huts – so that they can survive.”

He says his legislation would stop municipalities and counties from just sending their homeless people to Atlantic City- because it stipulates there can be “no movement of the person until there’s an assessment, a study, there a possibility that social workers would determine what kind of help they need.”

The measure also says if a homeless person is sent to Atlantic City without an assessment being made, the social or welfare worker who arranges the transport of that homeless person could face criminal charges.

“It would become a disorderly person,” says Amodeo,” it’s punishable by imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to a thousand dollars or both.”

He adds “the idea is to prevent a large number of homeless people to be shipped to Atlantic City from other parts of the state – we want to be able to help them to hopefully become productive citizens…we’re coming into a high season – our key part of the year …following suit with the Governor’s initiative in the tourism district – keeping it clean and safe- we want to be able to steer the homeless in the right direction.”

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