Individuals without Permanent Housing Get Access to Hotels and Motels amid the COVID-19 pandemic

April 26, 2020 – New Jersey Superintendent of the State Colonel Patrick Callahan signs an order that clarifies that municipalities and counties may not impose restrictions on the ability of hotels, motels, guesthouses or private residences to accept any individuals with no permanent housing to return to.

Administrative Order No. 2020-9 further explains that individuals that satisfy the criteria include those who are

  • homeless,
  • affected by domestic violence, and
  • stayingin hotels and motels to comply with a court order.

AO No. 2020-9 likewise provides that individuals with no permanent housing to safely or lawfully return to are not to be considered tenants or transient guests. They are, therefore, entitled to protection against evictions.

The Order also provides that it shall be read in conjunction with Executive Order No. 106 (2020), which was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on March 19, 2020.

“Providing our most vulnerable populations with access to safe accommodations during this crisis is both the right thing to do and a matter of public health,” Gov. Murphy said in his Facebook post.

The Order is expected to contribute positively to keeping more New Jerseyans safe by halting the spread of the virus.

As of the time of writing, New Jersey has recorded 105,523 confirmed cases and 5,863 deaths.

Col. Callahan believes that housing resources should continue to be available as the state combats Coronavirus. He says that the Order is necessary for all to be able to do self-isolation or social distancing.

The move has received a positive response from many individuals and public interest groups.

“This Administrative Order takes a crucial next step in protecting some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents from displacement and homelessness during the pandemic,” said Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest chair Catherine Weiss.

AO No. 2020-9 also grants the State Director of Emergency Management Services the authority to amend the Order as it may deem fit under the circumstances.